Amber Heard is getting ready to fight!!
The Aquaman star has acquired a new legal team as she prepares for her appeal of the Johnny Depp defamation verdict!
On Monday, a court filing was made public which revealed the 36-year-old actress has hired David L. Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown of Ballard Spahr to lead her counsel alongside Ben Rottenborn, who will continue working as her co-counsel. This means attorney Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, who led the six-week trial, has been booted from the team!
It’s hard to know why Amber is ditching Elaine for someone new, but it does suggest she’s unhappy with the outcome of her case! And who wouldn’t be?! She now owes her ex-husband $10.35 million in damages!
The decision also comes after Elaine attempted — and failed — to fight back by requesting a new trial after alleging there was a fake juror in court under false pretenses. Depp’s team fired back at those claims and called her lawyer out for not bringing the matter to attention when she first learned of it. Seeing as her initial plan backfired, maybe that’s why Amber had a change of heart on who to trust heading into this next legal battle?! It seems likely!
Interestingly, Elaine is staying supportive of her former client after stepping down, saying in a statement via People:
“This is the perfect time to pass the baton. I have pledged to Amber and her appellate team my complete cooperation and assistance as they move forward on a path towards success.”
“Pass the baton”?? Hmm. Something tells us she might be feeling a little salty about getting axed from the high-profile case! Or maybe she’s just ready to move on from the drama!?
In a statement about the switch-up, a spokesperson for Amber made it clear that her new legal team will focus on the First Amendment aspects of the case — rather than battle it out over alleged issues with the jury! Also, these issues were almost entirely ignored in the trial, too! The insider shared per Deadline:
“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.’ A different court warrants different representation, particularly as so much new evidence is now coming to light.”
Earlier this month, the court released unsealed documents including evidence that was banned from court. It’s unclear if any of this is the evidence that is “now coming to light,” as mentioned above, or if the new lawyers have something else up their sleeves.
David and Jay shared their outlook on the case, writing in a joint statement:
“We welcome the opportunity to represent Ms. Heard in this appeal as it is a case with important First Amendment implications for every American. We’re confident the appellate court will apply the law properly without deference to popularity, reverse the judgment against Ms. Heard, and reaffirm the fundamental principles of Freedom of Speech.”
True crime junkies may recognize the lawyers’ names since they just successfully defended The New York Times against Sarah Palin’s defamation lawsuit earlier this year. In that case, Sarah claimed the newspaper acted with “actual malice” when it falsely linked her political group to a 2011 mass shooting in a hastily written article in 2017. Unfortunately for the politician, the judge determined Sarah hadn’t proven the newspaper did anything intentionally wrong. So, it seems Amber has turned to a team with a winning track record! But will that be enough to overturn the verdict?! We’ll have to wait and see!
As Perezcious readers know, last month, both Amber and Johnny gave notice of an appeal. The mom of one��s camp explained via TMZ:
“We believe the court made errors that prevented a just and fair verdict consistent with the First Amendment. We are therefore appealing the verdict. While we realize today’s filing will ignite the Twitter bonfires, there are steps we need to take to ensure both fairness and justice.”
But Depp’s team didn’t seem fazed, appealing Amber’s $2 million win in her counter lawsuit, saying:
“The jury listened to the extensive evidence presented during the six-week trial and came to a clear and unanimous verdict that the defendant herself defamed Mr. Depp in multiple instances. We remain confident in our case and that this verdict will stand.”
It’ll be VERY interesting to see how the actress’ team holds up against Johnny’s famous lawyers! Thoughts?