February 4, 2023

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Depp Files Opposition to Heard’s Request for a Mistrial

[Source: ENews]

Johnny Depp requested a judge to strike down Amber Heard’s request for a mistrial after the actress claimed that a person who was not summoned served on the jury in her ex’s defamation case.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s legal battle continues a month after a Virginia jury found the actress liable for defaming her ex-husband.

Three days after Heard asked a judge to declare a mistrial in the defamation case against her, alleging that one of the jurors who served on the jury was not supposed to be there, Depp submitted an opposition requesting that the motion be struck down.

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In court documents filed on July 11 and obtained by E! News through a source close to the trial, Depp’s attorneys said that Heard and her legal team were given access to the pre-panel jury list in early April and “had more than enough time before the trial started, and during the six-week trial, when at least two alternates were available, to investigate and discover the alleged ‘new’ facts.”

The filing also stated that the juror who Heard alleged was not summoned for jury duty was still “qualified to serve as a juror in Fairfax County and was vetted by the Court and the parties’ counsel just as all the other jurors were” at the time of trial. Furthermore, Depp’s attorneys contended that Heard’s request for a mistrial, filed on July 8, was submitted seven days past the court’s appointed deadline.

“Though understandably displeased with the outcome of trial, Ms. Heard has identified no legitimate basis to set aside in any respect the jury’s decision,” the filing read. “Mr. Depp respectfully submits that the Court should deny Ms Heard’s Post-Trial Motions, which verge into the frivolous.”

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On June 1, a panel of seven jurors ruled in favor of Depp, who sued Heard for $50 million over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which the Aquaman actress described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Though Heard never mentioned Depp by name in the essay, his attorneys previously contended in court documents that she “concocted the story in hopes of generating positive publicity and to advance her career.”

The jury initially awarded Depp $15 million in damages, though punitive damages were later reduced by a judge to the state’s $350,000 legal limit—making the total damages awarded almost $10.4 million. Meanwhile, Heard—who filed a $100 million countersuit against Depp over an alleged “online smear campaign”—was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages.

In Heard’s post-trial motions, her legal team alleged that the jury panel list released before the trial included an individual listed as born in 1945, making them 77 years old, but that voter registration information also listed a 52-year-old with the same last name living at the older person’s address. “The individual who appeared for jury duty with this name was obviously the younger one,” the documents stated. “Thus, the 52-year-old…sitting on the jury for six weeks was never summoned for jury duty on April 11.”

“In this case, it appears that Juror No. 15 was not, in fact, the same individual as listed on the jury panel,” the filing read. “Ms. Heard’s due process was therefore compromised. Under these circumstances, a mistrial should be declared, and a new trial ordered.”

E! News reached out to Heard’s rep for comment but did not hear back.

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