Amber Heard dumps lawyer who defended her in Johnny Depp trial

Amber Heard dumps lawyer who defended her in Johnny Depp trial and hires legal team who successfully defended the New York Times against Sarah Palin’s defamation suit

  • Elaine Charlson Bredehoft steps down as Amber Heard’s attorney as the actress attempts to appeal the judge’s verdict of the Johnny Depp defamation trial 
  • Bredehoft represented the actress throughout the six-week trial at a Virginia courthouse, but says it’s now time to ‘pass the baton’
  •  Attorney’s David L. Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown will take over Bredehoft’s spot as the attempt to appeal the verdict proceeds
  • Attorney Ben Rottenborn, who served along side Bredehoft, will continue to serve on Heard’s legal team 

Amber Heard has dumped the attorney who defended her in her unsuccessful defamation trial with Johnny Depp as she now tries to appeal the verdict. 

Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, who represented the Aquaman actress in the six-week defamation trial, has parted ways with Heard. Attorney’s David L. Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown, who represented The New York Times earlier this year in a defamation lawsuit against 2008 vice president nominee Sarah Palin, will take over as the appeal proceeds. 

The pair work for Ballard Spahr and have covered various cases, including companies and individuals in high-stakes civil litigation, speakers in First Amendment cases, journalists, and news organizations.

Announcing the news, Heard’s spokesperson said in a statement: ‘When it comes 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.’

Heard, 36, was ordered to pay her ex-husband more than $10 million in damages at the end of the explosive trial in June, when a jury ruled she had defamed Depp in a newspaper opinion piece published in 2018. 

Following the verdict, Bredhoft said in an interview with the Today Show that the actress was unable to pay the millions in damages she owes Depp. More than a month later, Heard’s legal team filed a notice to appeal the verdict at the Virginia Court of Appeals in Fairfax County.

Amber Heard’s attorney Elaine Charlson Bredehoft (left), who represented the actress throughout the six-week defamation trial, was dumped as the process to appeal the judge’s verdict in the Johnny Depp defamation trial continues

Bredehoft said on Monday that it was time to ‘pass the baton’ as the process to overturn the millions Heard owes Depp continues

Attorney’s David L. Axelrod (right) and Jay Ward Brown (left) will take over as the appeal proceeds. The pair represented The New York Times earlier this year in a defamation lawsuit by Sarah Palin, former Republican vice president nominee in 2008

Attorney Ben Rottenborn, who served alongside Bredehoft, will continue to serve on Heard’s legal team

Bredehoft 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.’ 

Attorney Ben Rottenborn will continue to serve on Heard’s legal team. 

Throughout the defamation trial, Bredehoft received sympathy from Depp fans who claimed she looked ‘drained,’ amid reports that Heard has had screaming matches with her legal team outside of the courtroom. 

Words of encouragement for Bredehoft online increased in the aftermath of Heard’s May testimony, in which the attorney struggled during questioning.  

As Bredehoft cross-examined Heard on her last day on the stand, Depp’s lawyer, Camille Vasquez, objected to every other question Bredehof attempted to make.

Vasquez’s objections were sustained several times by the Judge preceding the highly publicized case, causing Bredehoft to stop mid-question several times.

‘I’ trying here, I’m trying…’ Bredehoft said, letting out a frustrated sigh.

During the six-week trial, attorney Elaine Bredehoft gained sympathy from social media users who claim she looks ‘drained’ 

Heard was ordered to pay Deep more than $10 million at the end of the defamation trial. Likewise, Depp was ordered to pay his ex-wife $2 million  

At the end of the defamation trial, Depp, 59, was awarded $10million to $15million in compensatory damages and $5million in punitive damages.

The judge later capped the damages at the state’s maximum of $350,000 leaving Depp with a total of $8.35million. 

Meanwhile, Heard won one of her three countersuit claims related to statements made by Depp’s lawyer suggesting the actress and her friends had trashed their apartment before calling the police. 

The actress was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages out of the $100 million she sought.

A day after Heard’s team filed an appeal, Depp’s team did the same to overturn the couple million the actor owes to his ex-wife. 

The Pirates of the Caribbean actor’s team said they filed an appeal to ensure ‘all information is considered by the court’ while they return to consider Heard’s appeal. 

Before filing an appeal, Heard’s attorney asked the judge to throw out the decision and declare a mistrial. It was argued that one of the jurors on the case should not have been eligible to serve because his summons was intended for his father, who had the same name and lived at the same address.

Judge Penny Azcarate shot down the request claiming there was no ‘evidence of fraud or wrongdoing’ by the juror and that the jury’s verdict should stand.’

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Defamation Trial Timeline 

In March 2019, Johnny Depp sued his ex-wife, Amber Heard, for $50million after she wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post in 2018 saying she was abused by the Pirates of the Caribbean star. However, she never explicitly named Depp in the piece but wrote that she is ‘a public figure representing domestic abuse.’

In February 2020, audio recordings obtained by, reveals heard admitting to hitting Depp. ‘I f**king was hitting you… I don’t know what the motion of my hand was, but you’re fine, I did not hurt you, I did not punch you, I was hitting you,’ Heard said. 

In January 2021,  Heard countersued her ex-husband for $100million 

On April 11, 2022, the six-week trial kicked off in Virginia to discuss the abuse allegations made throughout the couples relationship. The pair married in 2015 but divorced in 2017.

On April  20, 2022, Heard admitted to getting violent with Depp as audio recording of the actress were played

On May 4, 2022, Heard took the stand to recall romance with Depp before he allegedly abused her. The actress said the abuse dated back to 2013 when Depp allegedly sexually assaulted her.

On May 25, 2022, Depp testified again and claimed Heard’s allegations were false. He claimed he never abused his ex-wife 

On June 1, 2022, the judge ruled in Depp won the defamation case against Heard subjecting her to pay The Pirates of the Caribbean star $10.3 million. The jury awarded Heard $2 million after Depp’s attorney said Heard and her friends trashed her apartment before calling police.

On July 21, 2022, Heard appealed the judge’s decision in her defamation case against Depp – two months after she was subjected to pay $ 10million to her ex-husband in damages.

On July 22, 2022, Depp filed an appeal against his conviction for defaming Heard after calling the domestic abuse claims against him a ‘hoax’ – subjecting him to pay his ex-wife $2 million

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