Johnny Depp Ordered to Pay ACLU Over Amber Heard Evidence: Judge

A month after winning the defamation case against his ex-wife, Amber Heard, Johnny Depp now has to pay the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) $38,000 in attorneys’ fees in complying with a subpoena for evidence that was used in the trial, a judge ruled.

During the trial, the ACLU demanded $86,000 from Depp as reimbursement for production expenses, arguing that the reimbursement was for the “considerable expense spent responding to onerous subpoenas served by Mr. Depp from an underlying action in which neither the ACLU nor any of its employees are parties,” according to Law & Crime.

The ACLU’s lawyer, Stephanie Teplin, said that the $86,000 was reasonable, as Depp reportedly asked for thousands of documents over a six-year period as evidence to be used in the defamation trial. Depp’s lawyers filed a motion earlier in June, refusing to pay the $86,000.

Johnny Depp was ordered to pay the ACLU $38,000 in attorneys fees, a judge ruled on Friday. Above, actor Johnny Depp takes a break during his trial at a Fairfax County Courthouse on May 27, in Fairfax, Virginia
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

On Friday, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron ruled that the ACLU was to receive $38,000 from Depp, less than half of what was requested.

Depp’s lawyer, Jessica Meyers of Brown Rudnick, stated that the ACLU’s original request was “exorbitant and unreasonable.”

When contacted by Newsweek an ACLU spokesperson wrote, “We are pleased that the Court recognized that the ACLU complied with Mr. Depp’s requests and did so at great expense.”

“they [ACLU] were responsible for drafting and placing the op-ed that the Virginia jury just found to be defamatory to Mr. Depp,” Meyers said, according to Law & Crime.

A jury ruled largely in favor of Depp on June 2, finding that Heard defamed the Pirates of the Caribbean actor in the 2018 op-ed she wrote with The Washington Post, in which the headline stated, “I spoke up against sexual violence—and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”

During the six-week-long trial, it was found that the ACLU had helped Heard craft and place the op-ed with The Washington Postand the organization was using Heard as an “Ambassador for women’s rights, with a focus on gender-based violence.”

After she and Depp divorced in 2016, Heard publicly claimed she was donating her divorce settlement of $7 million to charity; $3.5 million would go to both the ACLU and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. During Heard’s cross-examination in the trial, it became clear that she had yet to donate all of what she had pledged, but the ACLU stated that it was still backing Heard despite she not receiving all of the $3.5 million.

While Depp now has to pay $38,000 to the ACLU, Heard must pay $8.35 million to Depp in damages, which Heard’s lawyer, Elaine Bredehoft, has publicly stated the actress cannot afford. Heard has stated she plans to appeal.

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