Johnny Depp’s legal team pushed back Monday on a request from his ex-wife Amber Heard for a new trial in his defamation lawsuit against her, according to court documents reviewed by Variety and Deadline, after Heard claimed someone who was not called for jury duty participated in the trial.
In a filing, Depp’s lawyers said the verdict and $10.4 million judgment should be upheld, as a verdict in Virginia “is not to be set aside unless it is ‘plainly wrong or without evidence to support it.’”
Depp’s team said Heard “waived her right to challenge the accuracy of the information listed in the jury panel by failing to raise this objection contemporaneously” during jury selection or the trial.
Depp’s team also noted that Heard “ has shown no evidence of prejudice” regarding juror No. 15, the juror in question.
In documents filed Friday, Heard claimed juror No. 15 was not called for jury duty, but nevertheless appeared in court and participated in the trial. The juror in question shares the same name and address as someone who was called for jury duty, according to her lawyers. It’s not clear if this person mistakenly showed up for jury duty or showed up intentionally, as jurors have to fill out a questionnaire with their birth date, her team said. On these grounds, Heard’s lawyers said her rights to “a jury trial and due process” were violated, and therefore, a mistrial should be declared, the judgment should be thrown out and a new trial should be ordered.
Depp sued Heard over a 2018 op-ed she wrote for the Washington Post in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse,” though she did not name Depp in the piece. In a six week-long televised trial that captured the attention of millions, Depp denied abusing Heard and said she was the aggressor in their relationship, while Heard said Depp physically and emotionally abused her. The jury ruled that Heard defamed Depp, and issued a $10.4 million judgment. Heard was awarded $2 million after winning one count that Depp defamed her. Shortly after the ruling, Heard’s lawyer said she intended to appeal.
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Judge Penney Azcarate has not yet ruled on Heard’s request for a new trial.