Aquaman star Amber Heard has suffered a major blow to the defense team representing her in the ongoing defamation case brought against her by ex-husband Johnny Depp, as several members have withdrawn themselves from the case, including prominent LGBT rights lawyer and ‘Time’s Up’ Legal Defense Fund founder Roberta Kaplan.
According to documents obtained by celebrity news site The Blast, Kaplan, along with attorneys John Quinn, founder of prestigious law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, seasoned California attorney Davida Brook, and Kaplan Heckler & Fink LLP partner Julie Fink.
The filing states that “The undersigned moves for entry of an order permitting Robert Kaplan, John Quinn, Julie Fink, Davida Brook to withdraw as counsel of record for Defendant Amber Laura Heard.”
It also names Heard’s new legal representative, stating that the actress has “retained the services of another trial counsel licensed in Virginia, Elaine Bredehoft” and noting that “All Withdrawing Counsel are currently admitted pro hac vice [and] Ms. Heard will still be represented by the undersigned Virginia counsel.”
The documents also detail, “Ms. Heard does not object to the withdrawal of withdrawing counsel and has endorsed the proposed order granting leave to withdraw.”
When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP told The Blast that they believe Heard’s accusations, but found COVID-19 related “travel and logistics” to be a major hinderance to their participation in the case:
“We believe Amber and we believe in Amber. We have been proud to serve as Amber’s counsel. In the strange and unexpected circumstances of today’s world, as travel and logistics have become more costly in light of the pandemic, we understand the decision to move the case to local, Virginia-based trial counsel.”
However, Depp’s attorney Adam Waldman believes that the withdrawal is a move of self-protection, speculating that the lawyers are attempting to unhitch themselves “from Ms. Heard’s long-disproven frauds” and vowing “to discover why.”
“For years, #TimesUp and others inexplicably hitched their wagons to Amber Heard’s abuse hoax. Ms. Heard’s lawyers, one of whom co-founded the #TimesUp Legal Defense Fund, have now apparently unhitched from Ms Heard’s long-disproven frauds. We intend to discover why.”
Depp’s legal team is currently investigating the trail of the massive ACLU and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles donation Heard made with her divorce settlement, hoping to uncover “the relationship between Amber Heard and the ACLU”.