Judge rejects Amber Heard’s motion to invalidate $10.35 million verdict against her

A Virginia judge on Wednesday shot down actress Amber Heard’s attempts to effectively invalidate the $10.35 million judgement that her ex-husband, actor Johnny Depp, won in a defamation case.

As Law & Crime reported: “Depp sued Heard over a 2018 Washington Post editorial under the latter’s byline. Heard described herself as a ‘public figure representing domestic abuse.’

“The op-ed did not mention Depp’s name but alluded indirectly to her filing for a restraining order two years earlier. The Pirates of the Caribbean actor sued under the doctrine of defamation by implication.”

Depp ultimately prevailed, and Heard was ordered to pay him $10.35 million in damages. As The Washington Post noted, Heard did win a smaller, $2 million counterclaim against her ex-husband.

But then, Heard sought to either have the verdict against her set aside, or for the court to declare a mistrial.

“Heard’s team had argued in a motion filed Friday that a summons had been sent to a 77-year-old man, but his 52-year-old son, who shares the same name and address, responded instead. The son was seated on the panel as Juror No. 15,” Fox News reported.

“The ‘Aquaman’ actress’ lawyer Elaine Bredehoft said it was the court’s responsibility to verify the accuracy of the jurors’ information,” the outlet added.

But Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Penney Azcarate wasn’t buying it.

“Defendant does not allege Juror 15’s inclusion on the jury prejudiced her in any way,” the judge wrote in her order.

“The juror was vetted, sat for the entire jury, deliberated, and reached a verdict. The only evidence before this Court is that this juror and all jurors followed their oaths, the Court’s instructions, and orders. This Court is bound by the competent decision of the jury.”

Bredehoft was not able to prove bias on the part of Juror 15, the judge said.

“The parties also questioned the jury panel for a full day and informed the Court that the jury panel was acceptable,” Azcarate said. “Therefore, due process was guaranteed and provided to all parties in this litigation. Voir dire was conducted in a fair and impartial manner, with the Court and both parties examining the potential jurors. There is no evidence of fraud or wrongdoing.”

“Further, the Defendant was provided the jury list five days prior to the commencement of trial and knew or should have known about the mistake at any time during the seven-week pendency of this trial,” the order said. “She had every opportunity to object to or to voir dire on the issue.”

Heard’s legal team has indicated that she plans to appeal the $10.35 million verdict.