Amber Heard and Johnny Depp settle after libel appeal

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp have avoided another court appearance after settling their latest round of litigation.

Depp originally filed a libel suit against Heard in March 2019 after Heard published an op-ed in The Washington Post in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic violence.”

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The couple had been married for two years before divorcing in 2017.

Earlier this year, following a protracted trial, a Virginia jury ruled that Depp and Heard defamed each other. Heard publishing the editorial and Depp via a statement made by his lawyer in which Heard was accused of carrying out a “hoax”.

Heard was ordered to pay Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, the latter sum reduced to $350,000 to comply with a statutory cap.

Depp was ordered to pay Heard $2 million.

The following month, Heard filed a notice of appeal, with his lawyer citing “errors” made by the court. However, it looks like the “Aquaman” actor has now agreed to withdraw his appeal.

In a statement posted to Instagram announcing the decision, Heard made it clear that “there are no restrictions or gags on my voice moving forward” and lambasted the US justice system for twisting his testimony. into “entertainment and social media feed”.

She also compared her experience of the US justice system to the UK, where Depp sued UK tabloid The Sun in 2020 for calling him a “wife beater” in an article. Heard was a lead witness for The Sun. In that case, the judge called the allegations “substantially true” and ruled in favor of The Sun.

In a statement, representatives for Depp said that as part of the settlement, Heard agreed to pay the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor $1 million through his insurance company. The sum represents a significant reduction from the $8.35 million ordered by the court.

“We are pleased to officially close the door on this painful chapter for Mr. Depp, who has made it clear throughout this process that his priority is getting the truth out,” Depp’s attorneys Benjamin Chew and Camille said. Bask. “The unanimous jury decision and resulting judgment in favor of Mr. Depp against Ms. Heard remain fully in place. The $1million payout – which Mr. Depp promises and will (in effect) donate to charity – reinforces Ms. Heard’s acknowledgment of the conclusion of the justice system’s rigorous pursuit of justice.

Read Heard’s full statement below:

“After much deliberation, I have made a very difficult decision to settle the defamation case brought against me by my ex-husband in Virginia.

It’s important for me to say that I never chose that. I stood up for my truth and in doing so my life as I knew it was destroyed. The vilification I have faced on social media is an amplified version of how women are re-victimized when they come forward. Now I finally have the opportunity to break free from something I tried to leave over six years ago and on terms I can accept. I made no confession, this is not an act of concession. There are no restrictions or gags when it comes to my voice moving forward.

I make this decision after losing faith in the US legal system, where my unprotected testimony has served as entertainment and social media content.

When I appeared before a judge in the UK, I was vindicated by a strong, impartial and fair system, where I was protected from having to give the worst moments of my testimony before the world’s media, and where the court found that I suffered domestic and sexual abuse. In the United States, however, I exhausted almost all my resources before and during a trial in which I was subjected to a courtroom in which abundant and direct evidence corroborating my testimony was excluded and in which the popularity and power mattered more than reason and due process. In the meantime, I have been exposed to a type of humiliation that I simply cannot relive. Even if my appeal in the United States is successful, the best outcome would be a new trial where a new jury would have to consider the age of evidence. I just can’t go through this a third time.

Time is precious and I want to spend my time productively and purposefully. For too many years I have been locked in an arduous and costly legal process, which has proven unable to protect me and my right to freedom of expression. I can’t afford to risk an impossible bill – a bill that’s not only financial but also psychological, physical and emotional. Women shouldn’t be abused or bankrupted for telling the truth, but sadly, that’s not uncommon.

In settling this matter, I am also choosing the freedom to devote my time to the work that helped me heal after my divorce; work that exists in areas where I feel seen, heard and believed and where I know I can make change.

I will not be threatened, discouraged or deterred by what happened from telling the truth. No one can and no one will take this from me. My voice will forever be my most valuable asset.

I want to thank my exceptional appeal and trial teams for their hard work. I would like to thank everyone who supported me and draw my attention to the growing support I have felt and seen publicly in the months since the trial, and the efforts that have been made to demonstrate solidarity with my story. Any survivor knows that the ability to tell their story is often the only relief. I cannot find enough words to tell you of the hope that your confidence in me inspires. Not just for me, but for all of you.

Thanks. See you soon.

More soon…

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