Amber Heard has changed course and split ways with Elaine Bredehoft, her trial lawyer in the Depp v. Heard case, a spokesperson announced on Monday.
The 36-year-old actor has hired First Amendment attorneys David Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown of law firm Ballard Spahr to lead her counsel. Ben Rottenborn will continue as co-counsel, while Bredehoft is said to step down.
“We welcome the opportunity to represent Ms. Heard in this appeal as it is a case with important First Amendment implications for every American,” said Axelrod and Brown in a joint statement. “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.”
Earlier this year in June, a seven person jury came to the conclusion that Heard defamed Johnny Depp on purpose when she wrote her 2018 Washington Post op-ed and identified herself as a public figure representing domestic abuse. Depp was awarded US $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages while Heard earned a relatively small countersuit amount of $2 million in compensatory damages.
After an attempt of mistrial was denied, The Aquaman actor’s team filed to appeal the verdict last month. “We believe the court made errors that prevented a just and fair verdict consistent with the First Amendment,” a spokesperson for Heard said. “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.”
With the ongoing situation on the new appeal, a spokesperson for Depp commented, “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.”
The legal battle began in 2016 when Heard filed a restraining order against Depp and accused him of bashing her in the face with a cellphone. Although Depp disagreed to the allegation then, the ex-couple is still in and out of the courtroom due to the ongoing feud.