Amber Heard’s request for a new trial in her defamation case against ex-husband Johnny Depp was rejected by a court on Wednesday. The judge also rejected the defense team’s argument that one of the jurors was improperly chosen.
Heard was ordered to pay actor Johnny Depp $10.35 million in damages after a jury in Fairfax County, Virginia, decided that she had defamed the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star in a newspaper opinion piece.
Last month, after the famous ex-couple had argued for weeks in court, the jury found that Heard had slandered her former partner when she asserted that she was a victim of domestic abuse. The jury awarded Depp more than $8 million, and his backers have since praised his achievement as proof that he was the real sufferer of their turbulent union.
Heard and her attorney did not take defeat gently and have continued to challenge the ruling.
MailOnline argued in a 48-page filing earlier this month that the initial case “proceeded solely on a defamation by implication theory, abandoning any claims that Ms. Heard’s statements were false.” They asked that the judgment be reversed, or a new trial be set for later this month.
In the court filing, Heard’s lawyers also cited Juror 15’s alleged inappropriate screening as cause for a new trial. The prospective juror responded to a summons for a jury sent to his father at the exact location.
The court cannot assume that Juror 15’s allegedly incorrect service was a simple oversight, as Mr. Depp requests. According to Heard’s attorneys, it might have been a deliberate attempt to get selected for a high-profile case’s jury.
Despite their objections, Judge Penney Azcarate, who presided over the trial earlier this year, did not agree to revisit the case.
In a written decision made yesterday (July 13), Judge Azcarate denied their plea for a new trial, claiming that the complaint against Juror 15 was immaterial.
The sole evidence before this court is that this juror and other jurors obeyed their oaths, the court’s instructions, and directives, said Azcarate. “The juror was vetted, sat for the whole jury, deliberated, and reached a verdict. The jury’s competent decision is binding on this court.
The Virginia Court of Appeals will still hear Heard’s decision appeal.