Amber Heard’s Lawyer Says Client Was ‘Demonized,’ Claims Jurors Saw Social Media ‘Vitriol’ In Johnny Depp Defamation Trial

Following yesterday’s verdict in the Amber Heard and Johnny Depp defamation trial, Savannah Guthrie sat down with the Aquaman 2 star’s lawyer Elaine Bredehoft to ask her about the case and get her take. Bredehoft made it clear she feels like the verdict was a “setback” for women, also claiming that Heard has been “demonized” throughout. Finally, she noted  she feels social media had to have played a huge role in the verdict that was rendered. 

While Amber Heard gained a small victory in the $2 million she earned in compensatory damages from her countersuit, her ex-husband Johnny Depp scored $10 million in compensatory damages and an additional $5 million in punitive damages. Given Virginia law, where the case was set, that will be shifted down to a little over $10.3 million in total, as punitive damages are capped at $350,000. Regardless, that’s still a significant court victory for Depp, and Bredehoft told Today that it only happened because her client was “demonized” in the courtroom and online.  

And that’s because she was demonized here. A number of things were allowed in this court that should not have been allowed. And it caused the jury to be confused. We weren’t allowed to tell them about the U.K. judgment, so the damages is completely skewed. There are no damages, it stopped at November 2, 2020, which is when the verdict came down in the U.K.

It’s true that Johnny Depp lost his libel case in the U.K., a lawsuit he filed against The Sun’s parent company after he was described as a “wife beater” in an article published by that outlet. The defamation case was filed on different grounds and was specifically filed against Amber Heard after she'd published an Op Ed that didn't name him but claimed she had been abused. The suit came at a point where Depp had lost his role in the Fantastic Beasts franchise

For her part, she claimed defamation by Depp thanks to comments made by his lawyer Adam Waldman, and brought in her reportedly reduced role in Aquaman 2 as evidence of defamation. After Heard and Depp shared their sides of the story, the trial looked at whether claims on both sides were true or false, or written with the intention of malice. 

While the verdict skewed for Depp and his legal team this time around, Elaine Bredehoft says she plans to appeal and thinks that Depp’s team had an advantage given the general online response to the case. While jurors were instructed not to read up on the court case or discuss it outside of the courtroom, she claims the trial’s online presence would have been impossible to ignore. 

How can you not? They 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. And it was horrible. It really, really was lopsided, I appreciate you saying that. It’s like the Roman Colosseum, you know, how they viewed this whole case.

When asked by Guthrie how Amber Heard might be feeling about an appeal, Elaine Bredehoft also said she “has some excellent grounds for it,” also calling what happened a “zoo,” seemingly mostly over the cameras and more that were present throughout the trial. We’ll have to wait and see what happens next. 

For now, both Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have made their points of view clear by releasing their own statements. Depp was not even in the courtroom when the verdict was rendered, instead choosing to remain in the U.K. and play a show with musician Jeff Beck. His other ex Kate Moss, who had stated claims made about the actor abusing her were false, attended. 

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.