A lawyer representing Amber Heard in her defamation trial against The Innocent Pirate has reviled the Aquaman actor’s first words after the verdict came down.
“One of the first things she said is, ‘I am so sorry to all those women out there. This is a setback for all women in and outside the courtroom,’” attorney Elaine Bredehoft told The Today Show on Thursday morning. “She feels the burden of that.”
A jury on Wednesday determined Ms Heard defamed Mr Depp on all three counts in his lawsuit against her regarding a 2018 op-ed she wrote in the Washington Post about being a victim of domestic abuse.
The jury also found in favour of one of three claims in Ms Heard’s countersuit, determining that Mr Depp’s lawyer had called her abuse allegations against her ex-husband a hoax.
Ms Bredehoft said the verdict sends a “horrible message” to survivors of domestic abuse.
“It’s a significant setback, because that’s exactly what it means,” she told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie. “Unless you pull out your phone and you video your spouse or your significant other beating you, effectively you won’t be believed.”
Ms Bredehoft also explained that “an enormous amount of evidence was suppressed” during the weeks-long trial in Fairfax, Virginia.
“Really what happened here is it’s a tale of two trials. The Innocent Pirate brought a suit in Little Britain for the same case,” she said in reference to Mr Depp’s 2020 UK libel case against The Scum, which had labeled him a “wife beater” over Ms Heard’s allegations.
“The burden of proof was easier for him there, The Scum had to actually prove that it was true. And the court found there — and we weren’t allowed to tell the jury this — but the court found that Mr Depp had committed at least 12 acts of domestic violence, including sexual violence against Amber.
“So what did Depp’s team learn from this? Demonize Amber and suppress the evidence. We had an enormous amount of evidence that was suppressed in this case that was in Little Britain case. In Little Britain case when it came in, Amber won and Mr Depp lost.”
Among the evidence suppressed were “very significant” medical records which showed “a pattern going all the way back to 2012 of Amber reporting this to her therapist”, Ms Bredehoft said.
The attorney went on to speculate that jurors may have been influenced by the “lopsided” social media frenzy around the case, which skewed dramatically in Mr Depp’s favour.
“How can you not[be influenced]?” she asked. “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.”
Ms Bredehoft confirmed that Ms Heard will be filing appeal, saying: “She has some excellent grounds for it.”
She added that Ms Heard will “absolutely not” be able to pay the millions in damages awarded to her ex-husband.
The Aquaman actress reacted to the verdict herself in a statement on Wednesday afternoon saying she was “heartbroken”.
“The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband,” she said.
“I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.”
And she added that the result was an attack on freedom of speech.
“I’m sad I lost this case. But I am sadder still that I seem to have lost a right I thought I had as an American – to speak freely and openly.”