Amber Heard has hired new lawyers to represent her as she appeals the verdict in her defamation case against ex-husband Johnny Depp.
Heard recently hired Ballard Spahr attorneys David Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown as her appellate counsel.
Ben Rottenborn of Woods Rogers Vandeventer Black and Elaine Charlson Bredehoft of Charlson Bredehoft Cohen Brown & Nadelhaft represented Heard during the six-month trial. Rottenborn is staying on as co-counsel but Bredehoft is leaving.
Heard’s spokesperson provided some light on the actress’ choice to hire additional lawyers for her appeal.
“When it comes to protecting the fundamental right of Freedom of Speech, we look at the jury’s decision—to paraphrase a famous quote—not ‘as the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning,'” the spokesperson said in a statement.
“A different court warrants different representation, particularly as so much new evidence is now coming to light.” the spokesperson added.
In June, a seven-person jury handed down the verdict in Virginia and found that Depp had been defamed by three statements in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed she wrote about her experience with domestic abuse and described herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse”.
Depp was seeking $50 million in damages, but the jury has awarded him $15 million — $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages.
However, Judge Penney Azcarate reduced the punitive damages figure to $350,000, the maximum allowed in the state, which makes Depp’s total haul around $10.4 million.
The jury, consisting of five men and two women, also concluded that Heard was defamed by a lawyer for Depp who accused her of creating a detailed hoax surrounding the abuse allegations. She was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages to Heard, but $0 in punitive damages.
Afterward, Heard’s attorneys stated she can’t afford to pay that amount.