Following the jury’s verdict in Johnny Depp’s favor in early June in the defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard, the actress has now hired a new legal counsel to defend her as she appeals the court’s decision.
Her original lawyer, Elaine Bredehoft, has stepped down as Heard’s attorney and been replaced by David L. Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown to lead the appeals team.
Axelrod and Brown have experience with successful defenses in high-profile defamation lawsuits, having defended the New York Times earlier this year against Sarah Palin’s defamation lawsuit. Heard has kept Ben Rottenborn on as co-counsel.
According to Yahoo Entertainment, a spokesperson for Heard said, “When it comes to protecting the fundamental right of Freedom of Speech, we look at the jury’s decision — to paraphrase a famous quote — not ‘as the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning.’ A different court warrants different representation, particularly as so much new evidence is now coming to light.”
“We welcome the opportunity to represent Ms. Heard in this appeal as it is a case with important First Amendment implications for every American,” Axelrod and Brown wrote 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.”
It is important to note that it is a normal occurrence for someone to change their legal team up when they go through the appeals process, and Bredehoft had no hard feelings with the move.
She said, “This is the perfect time to pass the baton. I have pledged to Amber and her appellate team my complete cooperation and assistance as they move forward on a path towards success.”
Depp, meanwhile, is sticking with his same legal counsel in the appeals process. The jury sided with him in the initial defamation case, although they did award Heard one of her three counterclaims of defamation for $2 million in damages, against the final $10.35 million she had to pay Depp, who has also issued his own appeal.