- Amber Heard demands that the defamation verdict be overturned
Amber Heard demands that defamation verdict is tossed: Lawyers for Aquaman actress who lost case against ex-husband Johnny Depp claim a juror was illegitimate and that ‘evidence does not support verdict’
- Lawyers representing Heard, 36, filed the motion on Friday on the grounds that the verdict that she had defamed Depp, 59, were not supported by evidence
- They also alleged that a juror had not been properly vetted, and questioned whether that juror was even supposed to be allowed on the jury
- Depp’s lead attorney, Ben Chew, responded to the motion in a statement to Courthouse News, saying ‘What we expected, just longer, no more substantive’
- On June 24, Judge Azcarate told Heard’s team that day that if they wanted an appeal, they could file for one with the court
Amber Heard’s legal team filed a motion to have the verdict of her blockbuster defamation trial against ex-husband Johnny Depp thrown out and the case re-tried.
Lawyers representing Heard, 36, filed the motion on Friday on the grounds that the verdict that she had defamed Depp, 59, was not supported by evidence.
They also alleged that a juror had not been properly vetted, and questioned whether that juror was even supposed to be allowed on the jury.
In a 43-page memorandum, Heard’s lawyers argued that the verdict – and the $10million in damages she now owes Depp – should be tossed out on the grounds that during the trial, Depp ‘proceeded solely on a defamation by implication theory, abandoning any claims that Ms. Heard’s statements were actually false.’
Depp’s lead attorney, Ben Chew, responded to the motion in a statement to Courthouse News, saying ‘What we expected, just longer, no more substantive.’
Heard has said that she is unable to pay the $10.35million in damages she owes Depp. Though she has previously indicated that she wants to appeal the verdict, to do so she would need to post bond of the full damages. It is likely that this latest motion was an attempt part to circumvent those requirements and still take try for a new verdict.
The filing argued that Juror 15 ‘was clearly born later than 1945. Publicly available information demonstrates that he appears to have been born in 1970.’
‘This discrepancy raises the question whether Juror 15 actually received a summons for jury duty and was properly vetted by the court to serve on the jury.’
‘It appears his identity could not have been verified,’ the filing reads.
Heard also argued that the damages awarded Depp were excessive as the jurors granted them for parameters outside of what his lawsuit concerned.
While Depp ‘represented to the court he would limit his damages to the period Dec. 18, 2018 through November 2, 2020’ – the period of time between when Heard’s op-ed about Depp’s alleged abuse was published in the Washington Post and when a UK court ruled that he had abused Heard – the motion argues that Depp did not attempt whatsoever to focus the scope of his alleged damages within that two year time frame.
‘Mr. Depp made no such effort at any point in the trial to limit his claimed damages. Instead, even throughout the Closings, Mr. Depp continued to urge the jury to restore his reputation and legacy to his children as a result of Ms. Heard accusing Mr. Depp in May 2016 of domestic violence.’
Judge Penney Azcarate has made it clear that she does not want to case to carry forward as it stands, dismissing requests from Heard’s team for more hearings during the most recent hearing related to the case on June 24, in which the judge finalized the verdict in the court’s records.
Judge Azcarate told Heard’s team that day that if they wanted an appeal, they could file for one with the court.
Both celebrities were found to have defamed each other in the June verdict, but the cards fell considerably in Depp’s favor.
He was awarded $10.35million in damages from Heard, while she was awarded just $2million in damages from Depp. All told, Heard was left owing Depp a whopping $8.35million.
Heard later admitted through her lawyer that she couldn’t afford those millions in damages, and a day after the verdict her representation said that she would appeal it.
A source close to Heard claimed she was ‘broke’ and not ‘in a position to turn down money.’
During an interview on Good Morning America earlier in June, Chew suggested that the star might be willing to forgo the millions of dollars in damages owed to him should Heard agree not to proceed with an appeal.
However, Heard’s lawyers lost that chance during the June 24 hearing when they declined to make such an agreement and Azcarate finalized the verdict, leaving Heard’s only path forward in an appeal.