Hollywood star Johnny Depp has applied directly to a court of appeals in order to overturn the verdict in his case against the publishers of The Sun. It is not clear what the grounds of the appeal are and when a decision is likely to be made. The development comes two weeks after Judge Andrew Nikol, who presided over his libel case against the British tabloid, did not allow Depp to appeal against a High Court ruling.
"I do not consider that the proposed grounds of appeal have a reasonable prospect of success", Andrew Nikol said, commenting on his decision.
At the end of November, when Depp lost the case, his lawyer described the verdict as “perverse” and “flawed”, adding that: “It would be ridiculous not to appeal the decision”.
Depp sued the publishers of The Sun newspaper, News Group Newspapers (NGN), in 2018 after the tabloid printed an article with the following headline: "Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be 'genuinely happy' casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?"
In the story, Dan Wootton, The Sun’s executive editor, spoke about allegations that Depp had been violent towards his ex-wife Amber Heard. The actor sued Wootton and The Sun’s publishers for libel.
However, Judge Nikol ruled that 12 of the 14 alleged incidents of domestic violence mentioned in the newspaper’s article had occurred and highlighted three incidents in which he said Depp had put Heard in "fear for her life". Judge Nikol also rejected Depp’s claim that Heard was a "gold-digger" who feigned injuries in order to promote her acting career, as well as rejected the actor’s claims that his ex had herself been violent.
During the hearing, Depp’s team presented evidence showing the actor with a severed finger and bruises, as well as an audio tape where Amber can be heard saying that she had hit Depp and started fights.
"I don’t know what the motion of my actual hand was, but you’re fine, I did not hurt you, I did not punch you, I was hitting you. I can’t promise you I won’t get physical again", she added.
During her testimony, Heard said she had thrown things and hit Depp in order "to escape" his abuse.
Depp also has a separate $50 million defamation suit against Heard, whom he sued in 2019 after the Aquaman star penned an op-ed in the in The Washington Post in which she spoke about being a victim of domestic violence. The case will be heard in the spring of 2021.