Another Court Ruling Came Down, And Now Johnny Depp Is Gonna Have To Pay Some Legal Fees

Johnny Depp in court with a hand on his shoulder

Johnny Depp’s defamation case against Amber Heard is over, with the verdict largely favoring the Pirates of the Caribbean actor. However, a month after the conclusion of the trial, both stars are still feeling its effects, whether it be emotionally or financially. In regards to the latter, it appears that Depp is now going to have to pay some legal fees due to a recent court ruling. And said expenses are related to the evidence that he and his legal team drew from while in court with his former spouse. 

Before a verdict was reached, the American Civil Liberties Union sought reimbursement from Johnny Depp after getting involved in the case. Via legal documents, the non-profit entity stated that it was seeking compensation for “considerable expense spent responding to onerous subpoenas served by Mr. Depp from an underlying action in which neither the ACLU nor any of its employees are parties.” The organization’s lawyer (via Newsweek) also asserted that the star requested thousands of documents over the course of six years, which would be used during the trial. With this, the group reasoned that $86,000 would be sufficient to cover its services. 

This past week, a Manhattan Supreme Court justice ruled that the ACLU is to receive $38,000 from the actor. While this final sum comes in at less than half of what the group was seeking in terms of reimbursement, the organization seems pleased. In a statement shared with Newsweek, a spokesperson expressed satisfaction with the matter being addressed:

We are pleased that the Court recognized that the ACLU complied with Mr. Depp's requests and did so at great expense.

Johnny Depp’s lawyer, Jessica Meyers, was displeased with the initial sum that was requested, calling it “exorbitant and unreasonable.” She also pointed out that the org “were responsible for drafting and placing the op-ed that the Virginia jury just found to be defamatory to Mr. Depp.” That assistance with the Aquaman star’s 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post was acknowledged during the defamation trial. 

Per the jury’s verdict, the Oscar nominee was to be awarded $15 million, with $10 million being compensatory and the other $5 million being for punitive damages. Amber Heard was also awarded $2 million as part of her $100 million countersuit. The sum for the punitive damages was eventually lowered to $350,000 and, as a result, Heard now owes her ex-husband $8.35 million. The actress’ lawyers have since said that she’s unable to pay the sum, though some may have taken notice when she used a private plane after that declaration was made. Aside from what she owes in the case, Heard may have to shell out even more cash if she chooses to appeal as suggested by her team. 

As of right now, both Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are facing other legal situations. Depp is on the verge of heading back to court for an assault-related case connected to his 2018 movie City of Lies. (The lawyer of the plaintiff in that case has spoken out and doesn’t seem fazed by Depp’s victory in the defamation trial.) Meanwhile, Heard is still being investigated for perjury in Australia. More specifically, authorities are looking into whether she lied about how she brought her and Depp’s Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, into the country in 2015. 

Much of the public will surely be keeping an eye on both of those ongoing legal situations. The same can probably also be said about how the two will seek to pay the money they owe as a result of their legal battle.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.