Johnny Depp to appeal ‘flawed’ Sun libel ruling, lawyers say 'decision is as perverse as it is bewildering'
'The Pirates of the Caribbean' star's legal team insisted that the judge's ruling on Monday was one-sided
Johnny Depp's legal team released a statement on Monday, November 2, denouncing their "bewildering" loss in the actor's libel case against The Sun, and vowed to appeal the ruling. Jenny Afia of Schillings, the law firm which represented the Hollywood actor in the London case, said: "This decision is as perverse as it is bewildering. The judgment is so flawed that it would be ridiculous for Mr. Depp not to appeal this decision."
Depp had filed the libel claim against The Sun over an article branding him a "wife-beater." The publication had released a piece in 2018 titled "Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be 'genuinely happy' casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?" Judge Justice Nicol, in his ruling, however, stated that the tabloid was justified in its reporting that Depp was violent towards his former wife, Amber Heard, on at least one occasion during their relationship, and called the article "substantially true." The judge ruled that 12 of the 14 allegations Heard made of physical violence against Depp had occurred, and added that the two which had not been fully proven did not suggest that the incidents were fabricated by Heard.
'The Pirates of the Caribbean' star's legal team, however, has insisted that the judge's ruling was one-sided. Afia, in a statement, said: "Most troubling is the Judge’s reliance on the testimony of Amber Heard, and corresponding disregard of the mountain of counter-evidence from police officers, medical practitioners, her own former assistant, other unchallenged witnesses and an array of documentary evidence which completely undermined the allegations, point by point. All of this was overlooked."
Depp's lawyers also stated that they hoped for a fairer hearing in the impending lawsuits in Virginia over a 2018 op-ed Heard wrote in the Washington Post about her experience as a domestic violence victim. "We hope that in contrast to this case, the ongoing libel proceedings in America are equitable, with both parties providing full disclosure rather than one side strategically cherry-picking what evidence can and cannot be relied upon,” Afia said.
Meanwhile, Heard's attorney, Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, said that the “decision and judgment are not a surprise" to anyone who had followed the trial. While referring to a follow-up trial which is expected to be heard in Virginia next year, she said: "Very soon, we will be presenting even more voluminous evidence in the US. We are committed to obtaining justice for Amber Heard in the US court and defending Ms. Heard’s right to free speech."
A spokesperson for The Sun, after the ruling, released a statement saying that the outlet has stook by the victims of domestic abuse for over two decades. "The Sun has stood up and campaigned for the victims of domestic abuse for over 20 years. Domestic abuse victims must never be silenced and we thank the judge for his careful consideration and thank Amber Heard for her courage in giving evidence to the court," the statement said.
Depp, however, has maintained that he never abused his former wife and was never violent towards her. Both Depp and Heard were called on the stand during the much-publicized trials to give evidence against each other before Judge Andrew Nicol during a three-week hearing at London's High Court. The trials resulted in shocking revelation about the former star couple's private lives, riddled with instances of alleged drug abuse, extramarital affairs, domestic abuse, and emotional manipulation.