Amber Heard seeks to throw out $10.35 million verdict in Johnny Depp libel lawsuit, cites ‘potential inappropriate jury service’

Amber Heard’s lawyers asked a judge to dismiss the $10.35 million verdict against her in the defamation case filed by ex-husband Johnny Depp, arguing that the verdict was not supported by evidence and that one of the jurors may not have been properly vetted by the court .

In post-trial motions filed Friday, Heard’s attorneys called the jury’s June 1 award of $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages to Depp “excessive.” and “indefensible”. They are asking the judge to overturn the verdict and either dismiss Depp’s lawsuit or order a new trial. Immediately after the verdict, the judge reduced the compensatory damages to $350,000 under a state cap.

Depp sued Heard for defamation in Fairfax County Circuit Court over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic violence.” Depp’s attorneys alleged he was defamed by the article even though he never mentioned it by name.

The six-week televised trial turned into a spectacle that offered a window into their dysfunctional marriage. Much of the testimony focused on Heard’s claims that she was physically and sexually assaulted by Depp. Heard described more than a dozen alleged assaults, including a fight in Australia – where Depp was filming a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ sequel – in which Depp lost the tip of her middle finger and Heard said she was sexually assaulted with a bottle of alcohol.

Depp said he never hit Heard and she was the aggressor.

Depp had to prove that he never assaulted Heard, that his opinion piece defamed him, and that she wrote the piece with real malice.

In their post-trial motions, Heard’s legal team argued that to conclude that Heard had actual malice, Depp would have had to show that at the time Heard’s article was published, she did not believe she had been mistreated.

“Instead, the evidence overwhelmingly supported that Ms. Heard believed she was abused by Mr. Depp,” Heard’s attorneys state in their motion.

Heard’s lawyers are also asking the judge to investigate “possible improper jury service”, alleging that one of the jurors who was chosen to serve on the jury was listed as having been born in 1945 in documents given to lawyers before. the jury selection process, but is listed as being born in 1970 in publicly available information.

“This discrepancy raises the question of whether Juror 15 did in fact receive a subpoena and was properly approved by the Court to serve on the jury,” Heard’s attorneys said in their motion.

Depp’s attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The jury also awarded Heard $2 million in its counterclaim against Depp, finding that Heard had been defamed by one of Depp’s attorneys, who accused her of creating a detailed prank that included manhandling the couple’s apartment to make it look worse to the police.

In some ways, the lawsuit was a replay of a lawsuit Depp brought in the UK against a British tabloid after he was described as a “wife beater”. The judge in that case ruled in favor of the newspaper in 2020 after finding Heard was telling the truth in his descriptions of abuse.

Johnny Depp spotted in a bar in Newcastle, England, after the verdict of a defamation case


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