Amber Heard’s lawyer, on Thursday, revealed that the actress cannot afford to pay the sum of $10 million judgment she owes ex-husband Johnny Depp, after a Virginia court ruled Wednesday she defamed him in a 2018 op-ed she wrote about being a victim of domestic abuse.
Elaine Bredehoft during the Today show disclosed that Heard intends to appeal the ruling, saying there was “there was so much evidence” left out of this trial compared to Depp’s 2020 defamation lawsuit against British tabloid The Sun—after the paper described him as a wife beater—which he lost.
The attorney said Heard’s medical records were suppressed, and she was not allowed to tell the jury the British court found Depp committed “at least 12 acts of domestic violence, including sexual violence,” against Heard.
Bredehoft also said the intense social media attention on the case, which seemed to largely favor Depp and often disparaged Heard, influenced the outcome of the trial greatly.
Bredehoft said she fought against having the trial broadcast, which she believes turned the courtroom into a “zoo.”
“[The jury] went home every night. They have families. The families are on social media. We had a 10-day break in the middle because of the judicial conference. There’s no way they couldn’t have been influenced by it,” Bredehoft said.
Heard’s finances came up during the trial. Terence Dougherty, an executive representing the American Civil Liberties Union, which Heard was an ambassador for and helped her craft the op-ed, testified about a donation Heard pledged to the organization after she received a $7 million from her divorce from Depp. Heard promised $3.5 million to the ACLU, though only $1.3 million has been given to the organization so far. Heard and Depp each paid a portion of the donation, and the other payments came from two separate funds. Dougherty said he believed one of the funds was backed by Elon Musk, who Heard had a relationship with after she split from Depp. Heard paused her donations to the ACLU in 2019 because she was having “financial difficulties,” Dougherty said.
The Depp Heard trial lasted over six weeks and captured the attention of thousands of viewers online each day. One live stream of the verdict being announced received over 23 million views Wednesday. Depp sued Heard for $50 million for defamation, claiming a 2018 Washington Post op-ed she wrote insinuated he abused her, even though his name was not mentioned in the piece. The jury found Heard defamed Depp in all the statements the case centered around. He was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, which was knocked down to $350,000, per Virginia law. Heard countersued Depp for $100 million over a 2020 op-ed written by his lawyer in The Daily Mail, which called her claims of abuse a hoax. She won part of her countersuit, and was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages and no punitive damages. In a statement released after the verdict, Heard said she was disappointed and worried for the way this will affect other victims of domestic abuse going forward. Depp said “the jury gave me my life back.”