Amber Heard Says Wrong Juror Appeared In Defamation Trial, Requests New Trial

Topline

Lawyers for Amber Heard filed a request for a new trial Friday in her defamation case with ex-husband Johnny Depp, claiming a juror that was not called for duty participated in the trial and her right to “a jury trial and due process” were “undermined and compromised,” according to Deadline and Insider.

Key Facts

In a partially-redacted supplemental filing for Heard’s request for a new trial, which was published by Deadline, her lawyers alleged “Juror No. 15 was not the individual summoned for jury duty on April 11, 2022,” therefore a mistrial should be declared a new trial should be ordered.

According to the filing, two individuals with the same name, one born in 1945 who is 77 and one born in 1970 who is 52, live at the same address in Virginia.

The person born in 1945 was summoned for jury duty in April, but the person born in 1970 appeared for jury duty and served during the Heard Depp trial, the filing states.

As a safeguard, jurors must fill out a questionnaire with their birthdate to ensure their identity, according to the filing.

Heard’s lawyers wrote it is “deeply troubling for an individual not summoned for jury duty nonetheless to appear for jury duty and serve on a jury,” especially on such a “high-profile case, “where the fact and date of the jury trial were highly publicized prior to and after the issuance of the juror summonses.”

The jury ruled Heard defamed Depp when she called herself a “public figure representing domestic abuse,” and ordered her to pay him over $10 million in damages.

Forbes has reached out to Heard and Depp for comment.

Crucial Quote

“The individual who appeared for jury duty with this name was obviously the younger one,” Heard’s lawyer wrote.

Key Background

Depp sued Heard over a 2018 op-ed she wrote for the Washington Post in which she claimed she was a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” During a six-week-long televised trial, Heard claimed Depp physically and emotionally abused her. Depp claimed Heard was the aggressor in their relationship, and said her claims cost him his acting career. The jury decided Heard’s statements defamed Depp, and a statement made by Depp’s lawyer defamed Heard. He was awarded $10.4 million in damages, which Heard’s lawyer has said the actress can’t afford to pay. Shortly after the verdict, Heard’s lawyer stated she intended to appeal the ruling. Earlier this week, Heard’s team requested the verdict and the damages be thrown out on several grounds, including on the grounds that juror No. 15 “was not properly vetted,” noting the discrepancy with their birth date. It stated in this motion that the juror’s “identity could not have been verified,” according to the Guardian.

Further Reading

Johnny Depp Juror Speaks Out: Amber Heard ‘Didn’t Come Across As Believable’ (Forbes)

Amber Heard Says She Doesn’t ‘Blame’ Jurors For Siding With Johnny Depp—But Says Trial Wasn’t ‘Fair’ (Forbes)

Amber Heard’s Lawyer Says Actress Can’t Pay $10 Million Judgment To Johnny Depp (Forbes)

Jury Rules Amber Heard Defamed Johnny Depp In Domestic Abuse Op-Ed (Forbes)

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