Johnny Depp’s multi-million win against Amber Heard is once again being challenged after Heard’s legal team filed paperwork Friday seeking a mistrial, stating that the wrong juror was seated for the lengthy defamation trial.
The five-page document filed in a Fairfax County, Virginia circuit court says that Juror No. 15 “was not the individual summoned for jury duty on April 11, 2022.”
Heard’s attorneys wrote that the correct juror was 77 years old at the time of the trial and Juror No. 15 was 52. The court documents claim that both people share the same last name and address.
“As the Court no doubt agrees, it is deeply troubling for an individual not summoned for jury duty nonetheless to appear for jury duty and serve on a jury, especially in a case such as this,” the documents state.
Heard’s legal team argued that her “due process was therefore compromised” and “a mistrial should be declared, and a new trial ordered.”
The six-week televised trial ended last month when a jury awarded Depp $10.4 million in damages. The “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor sued his ex-wife over a 2018 opinion-editorial essay by Heard in The Washington Post, in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Depp’s lawyers argued that he was defamed by the essay even though it did not mention him by name.
The jury also awarded Heard $2 million in her counterclaim against Depp after concluding that Heard was defamed by one of Depp’s lawyers, who accused her of creating a detailed hoax that included roughing up the couple’s apartment to look worse for police.
Heard’s legal team previously brought up the juror issue in post-trial motions, saying that a juror was not properly vetted. They also asked the court to toss out the verdict, arguing that it was not supported by the evidence.
In the post-trial motions, attorneys for Heard argued that to find she had actual malice when she wrote the essay, Depp would have had to show that she did not believe she had been abused.
“Instead, the evidence overwhelmingly supported Ms. Heard believed she was the victim of abuse at the hands of Mr. Depp,” Heard’s lawyers said in their motion.
Attorneys for Depp could not immediately be reached for comment on the latest court filing. Heard’s legal team declined to comment.