Was Amber Heard’s Appeal The Smart Legal Play In Case Against Depp? Here’s What One Lawyer Says

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have been involved in a legal battle for years, making countless headlines along the way. Things really heated up at the defamation trial in Virginia, where the Pirates of the Caribbean actor was largely the victor and his ex-wife was ordered to pay him a whopping $10 million. Heard is appealing the verdict, but is that actually a smart legal play in the case against Depp? Here’s what one lawyer says.

Given the millions of dollars involved, Amber Heard and her team of layers have been attempting to get the defamation verdict thrown out in a variety of ways. Depp’s team has filed their own appeal, so it’s clear that the saga isn’t coming to an end anytime soon. Attorney Andrew M. Lieb spoke to Newsweek about Heard’s appeal of the defamation verdict, and explained why it made sound legal sense. As he put it,

Amber Heard should 100 percent appeal her defamation trial loss against Johnny Depp because she has an as of right ability to file an appeal with the Court of Appeals of Virginia and failing to make the filing is an acknowledgment that she is stuck with a $10.35 million verdict against her.

Well, there you have. The sum of $10 million is a wild amount of money for anyone, including celebrities like Amber Heard. And it sounds like if she’s got any chance of avoiding having to pay these millions to Johnny Depp, it’s a good move to make the appeal. Whether or not it’s successful remains to be seen.

Andrew Lieb’s comments to Newsweek helps to offer some perspective on the ongoing legal drama surrounding Amber Heard and Johnny Depp’s defamation cases. While it seemed like it might be winding down after the verdict was revealed, both actors’ legal teams have still been hard at work. Heard’s lawyers have taken aim at the validity of one specific juror, while also citing the way that social media might have influenced the jury’s decision. 

But will Amber Heard’s appeal actually be successful? We’ll have to wait and find out, but Andrew M. Lieb offered his opinion on the matter during his same conversation with Newsweek about the case against Johnny Depp. As he explained,

She is arguing improper juror service, but only on a technical basis, and absent a causal showing that the sitting of the juror resulted in bias or prejudice against her, the verdict will not be reversed. Simply, it's a difficult appeal because the Court of Appeals gives deference to the trial judge who already refused an application for a retrial on this issue.

That was definitely honest. We’ll have to see if his prediction comes true, but it sounds like it might be an uphill battle for Amber Heard and her legal team. Regardless, Mr. Lieb has maintained that the appeal is a “smart strategic play” because it has the potential to reduce the $10 million that Heard would otherwise have to pay to Johnny Depp. Her lawyers have gone on record saying she can’t pay that sum, so the motivation seems clear.

Professionally, Johnny Depp is preparing to shoot his first post-trial movie, while Amber Heard will be seen in Aquaman 2 on March 17th, 2023 (although her role might be smaller this time). In the meantime, check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.  

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.