Amber Heard Needs Mega Payment to Appeal Johnny Depp Decision: Judge

As the judge in the defamation trial between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp finalized the verdict in the case on Friday, it became clear that Amber Heard may need to pay a large amount of money should she appeal.

After the weeks-long, high-profile trial, in which Depp sued his ex-wife, Heard, for $50 million for defamation following an op-ed she wrote in 2018, the seven-person civil jury reached a verdict on June 1 largely in Depp's favor, awarding him $15 million in damages—$10 million in compensatory damages with the other $5 million for punitive damages. Judge Penney Azcarate later lowered the punitive award to $350,000 per Virginia's legal maximum. In total, after figuring the $2 million awarded Heard for her her counter-suit for nuisance, Depp's award came to $8.35 million, which Heard's lawyer, Elaine Bredehoft, has publicly stated the Aquaman actress cannot afford.

On top of that, the upfront cost of an appeal for Heard would be equal to that judgment, plus interest, plus other possible charges.

Representatives for Heard confirmed that she plans to appeal the verdict. A spokesperson for Heard told Newsweek, "As stated in yesterday's congressional hearings, you don't ask for a pardon if you are innocent. And, you don't decline to appeal if you know you are right."

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Amber Heard plans to appeal the court decision against her in the defamation trial, which might cost her a very large sum. Above, Heard waits before the jury announced split verdicts in the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard civil defamation trial at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on June 1. EVELYN HOCKSTEIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

However, appealing could cost her even more money upfront, it seems. Azcarate, in her official order on Friday, stated that the amount owed by each party was subject to a 6 percent annual interest rate as per Virginia law.

Attorney Jeff Lewis, the founder of Jeff Lewis Law, told Newsweek that in order to appeal, "She must post a bond equal to the net judgment (after netting out Amber's victory) of $8.3 million, plus interest for one year at 6 percent."

And even then, the bond is not the only price on the table. Lewis also stated that it could be up to the surety, the insurance company that posts the bond, who could require Amber to pay more as collateral.

"So there are two issues here, what premium would Amber have to pay the surety to obtain a bond. And second, what collateral does Amber have to convince a surety to post the bond," Lewis said.

The settlement between the two actors, whose tumultuous and often toxic relationship ended in divorce in 2016, won't come until after the appeal now, according to experts.

Heard has stuck by her claims made in testimony on the witness stand after the trial, even though Depp's attorneys hinted that the Pirates of the Caribbean actor could waive the amount Heard owes if she forgoes the appeal.

Attorney Benjamin Chew spoke with Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos, who asked, "Is it possible we could see a settlement where she forgoes the appeal in return for Mr. Depp waiving any monetary damages?"

"We obviously can't disclose attorney-client communications," Chew responded. "But, as Mr. Depp testified and as we both made clear in our respective closings, this was never about money for Mr. Depp. This was about restoring his reputation, and he's done that."