Hollywood star Amber Heard's legal team submitted a motion Friday demanding that the decision in her ex-husband Johnny Depp's defamation trial be overturned, including the $10.35 million in damages given to Depp by the jury. According to Variety, in addition to arguing that the verdict is not supported by evidence, Heard's attorneys request that the Fairfax County Circuit Court "investigate improper juror service," claiming that public information indicates that one of the jurors who served during the trial was born in 1970, despite court officials listing their birth year as 1945.
"This discrepancy raises the question of whether Juror 15 actually received a summons for jury duty and was properly vetted by the court to serve on the jury," Heard's lawyers wrote.
Heard's legal team also claims that the jury's $10.35 million judgement on the actress is "inconsistent and irreconcilable" with the jury's determination that both she and Depp defamed one other. In addition to Depp's compensatory damages of $10 million and punitive damages of $350,000, the jury awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages for her counterclaim.
"Mr. Depp presented no evidence that Ms. Heard did not believe she was abused," Heard's attorneys wrote. "Therefore, Mr. Depp did not meet the legal requirements for actual malice, and the verdict should be set aside."
The trial began when Depp, the plaintiff in the case, sued Heard for defamation after she published an op-ed in the Washington Post in 2018 referring to her earlier abuse accusations. Although the op-ed did not specifically reference Depp, the actor claimed it harmed his reputation and wrecked his career.
Heard and Depp separated a year before the op-ed was published, following two years of marriage, with Heard stating that Depp had subjected her to emotional, physical, and sexual abuse during their relationship. Prior to the American trial, the High Court of London found against Depp in a separate defamation case in 2020, when the actor sued the Sun for referring to him as a "wife-beater."
The court in the United Kingdom decided that he attacked Heard in 12 of the 14 reported occurrences. Since the trial concluded in June, Heard has given interviews about the event, characterising the seven-week court struggle as "the most humiliating and horrific thing [she had] ever gone through" to "Today."
The Guardian was the first to provide detailed coverage of Heard's attempt to overturn the judgement.