Why Johnny Depp Refuses to Pay ACLU $86K After Trial

Lawyers for Johnny Depp recently filed a motion refusing to pay the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) over $86,000 following his successful defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard.

On June 1, Depp's lawyers filed a motion with New York state's Supreme Court expressing opposition to a request made by the ACLU. "Respondents' request for in excess of $86,000 in "expenses" associated with their Court ordered document production is not only exorbitant and unreasonable, but unsupported by New York law," the lawyers wrote.

The motion came shortly after the ACLU requested that Depp pay the organization over $86,000 for legal costs during the trial, which involved Depp's lawsuit and Heard's countersuit. According to court documents obtained by KFMB-TV in San Diego, the ACLU is demanding that Depp pay $86,256 after several ACLU witnesses testified in the trial, as well as reimbursement for documents the ACLU provided following subpoenas by Depp's legal team.

Johnny Depp
Members of Johnny Depp's legal team recently filed a motion opposing payment of over $86,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union, which it says it is owed following the defamation trial involving Depp and ex-wife Amber Heard. Above, Depp departs the court during the trial on May 27 in Fairfax, Virginia. Cliff Owen/Consolidated News Pictures/Getty

Last week, Depp emerged as the clear winner in the trial. He sued Heard after she wrote a 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post that said she was a survivor of domestic abuse. Heard never named Depp in the op-ed, but the actor accused his ex-wife of defaming him and damaging his career. The jury awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. Heard was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages in connection with her countersuit.

In the motion filed by Depp's lawyers opposing payment to the ACLU, they wrote, "Mr. Depp acknowledges that New York law provides for the reimbursement of reasonable production expenses to a non-party and does not oppose reimbursing the Respondents for such reasonable expenses; but, Respondents seek reimbursement for expenses that go far beyond what was reasonably required to comply with the subpoena."

In the court document filed by the ACLU, the organization said, "Prior to filing this motion, the ACLU Non-Parties sent a detailed description of their production expenses to Mr. Depp and sought to negotiate reimbursement without Court intervention. Those negotiations were unsuccessful."

An ACLU spokesperson told Newsweek that under New York state law, the organization is entitled to seek costs associated with complying with the requests Depp and his legal team made during the trial. The spokesperson also noted that the repayment requested is much lower than what it actually cost the ACLU to provide Depp with the dozens of documents he requested.

In the motion filed by Depp's attorneys, they wrote, "Indeed, even if Mr. Depp were responsible for these expenses under New York law (which he is not) the fees incurred for these tasks are unreasonable and should be substantially reduced. For these reasons, and the reasons set forth herein, the Court should deny the Respondents' Motion."

Newsweek reached out to Depp's lawyer Camille Vasquez for comment.

During the trial, several ACLU witnesses testified after Depp demanded that the organization provide information on donations Heard made to it while the couple were married from 2015 to 2016. During the trial, it was also revealed that the ACLU assisted Heard in writing the 2018 op-ed.