Defendant Johnny Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard has requested a judge to throw out the $10.35 million defamation decision against her, alleging that it was based on insufficient evidence and that one of the jurors may not have been properly screened by the court.
“Excessive and unjustified” is how Amber Heard’s attorneys describe the jury’s June 1 decision to give Johnny Depp $10 million in compensation and $5 million in punitive damages, which they submitted Friday. A fresh trial or a reversal of the verdict is what they are requesting from the court. In accordance with state law, the judge immediately reduced the damages to $350,000.
In Fairfax County Circuit Court, Depp filed a libel suit against Heard over her December 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post,
in which she described herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” Even though Depp was never addressed by name, his lawyers claimed that the story was defamatory. An open view into their marriage was provided by the six-week televised trial.
Hearing’s claims that she was physically and sexually mistreated by Johnny Depp were the subject of most of the testimony. As reported by Heard, Depp has been accused of assaulting her in a number of different countries, including Australia, where the actor was filming a sequel to “Pirates of the Caribbean,” and Heard claims she was sexually attacked with a liquor bottle.
It was Heard, not Depp, who was the victim of domestic violence, according to Depp. While Heard’s op-ed essay defamed him and she wrote it with malice in mind, Depp had to prove that he had not assaulted her. According to Heard’s legal team, in order to prove that she possessed genuine malice, Depp would have had to establish that Heard did not believe she had been assaulted at the time her piece was published.
Lawyers for Heard claim the evidence “overwhelmingly corroborated Ms. Heard’s belief that she was the victim of abuse at the hands of Mr. Depp.
” They further request that the judge looks into “possible improper juror service,” in which one of the jurors picked to serve on the jury was identified as having been born in 1945 but is listed as having been born in 1970 according to the publicly available information. This disparity begs the question of whether Juror 15 got a summons for jury service and was properly vetted by the Court to serve on the jury,” Heard’s lawyers argued in their application for a new trial.
A message left for Depp’s legal team went unanswered. To make matters worse, one of Depp’s lawyers accused Heard of staging a hoax that included roughing up the couple’s flat to make it appear worse to police, and the jury agreed, awarding Heard $2 million in her counterclaim against the actor.
The trial resembled Depp’s lawsuit against a British tabloid in the United Kingdom, where he was accused of being a “wife-beater.” An appeals court decided in favor of the newspaper in 2020 after ruling that Heard was speaking the truth when she described the abuse she had endured.
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