Elaine Bredehoft, who represented Heard at trial, will be stepping down from her legal team.
Representatives for Heard announced Monday the hiring of David L. Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown.
The Ballard Spahr lawyers defended The New York Times against defamation claims from Sarah Palin.
On Monday, representatives for Heard announced the hiring of Ballard Spahr lawyers David L. Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown.
Axelrod and Brown successfully defended The New York Times earlier this year in a defamation case brought by former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.
According to the press release, Elaine Bredehoft, who represented Heard at trial, will now be stepping down from her legal team. Ben Rottenborn, who was co-counsel on the case, will stay on. Bredehoft called it “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,” Bredehoft said.
When asked to explain the decision, a spokesperson for Heard issued a statement saying “a different court warrants different representation, particularly as so much new evidence is now coming to light.”
Representatives for Depp declined to comment on the news.
“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 said 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.
The defamation trial between Depp and Heard, his ex-wife, played out for weeks in Fairfax County, Virginia. It became quickly the biggest story in America, as both actors took the stand to accuse each other of physical and emotional abuse.
Depp sued Heard for defamation over a 2018 op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post, in which she insinuated she had been the victim of domestic violence. Heard then countersued.
In the end, the jury appeared to believe Depp’s side of the story, finding that Heard had committed defamation in all three instances he complained about. Meanwhile, the jury only sided with Heard on one of her three complaints against Depp. Heard was ordered to pay Depp $15 million in damages, while Depp was only ordered to pay Heard $2 million. Heard’s damages were later lowered to conform with Virginia state law, and she now owes $10.3 million.
Both Heard and Depp are appealing the decision.
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