Johnny Depp asks why Amber Heard waited till AFTER trial verdict to point out 'wrong juror' in jury panel
In a motion submitted on Monday, July 11, Johnny Depp's attorney said that Amber Heard should not be permitted to appeal the defamation trial result even if the incorrect juror was selected, since she delayed doing so till the trial results were out.
On Friday, Elaine Bredehoft, the attorney representing Heard, claimed in court documents that although a 77-year-old man was called to jury service, a 52-year-old man with the same last name and residence was ineligibly seated for the six-week trial in Fairfax County, Virginia. Bredehoft contended that the decision ought to be overturned in light of this newly discovered fact.
The two men are father and son. The son was assigned as Juror No. 15, instead of his father. As opposed to Bredehoft's assertion that these were "new facts," Depp's lawyer, Ben Chew countered that her staff should have picked up on the disparity as soon as they learned specifics about the jurors. "Ms Heard waived her right to challenge the accuracy of the information listed in the jury panel by failing to raise this objection contemporaneously," Chew wrote in his letter.
Bredehoft admitted that Juror No. 15 did not appear to be 77, but Heard's legal team did not attempt to look into the problem. They delayed raising it until after the panel had given Depp $10.35 million. Chew said that even if a son served in place of his father, there would be no prejudice. The younger juror was approved to serve as a jury by the judge and attorneys for both sides, according to the lawyer's letter.
In Heard's post-trial move to throw out the judgment, Depp's attorney also refuted further allegations, such as those that the damages granted to Depp were excessively high and that the decision was erroneous. Chew called Heard's arguments senseless. He wrote, "While Ms. Heard slings an exceptional amount of mud at the wall in the hope that something might stick, the jury’s verdict on damages was perfectly reasonable and supported by the evidence and testimony in the case." He concluded, "Though understandably displeased with the outcome of the trial, Ms. Heard has identified no legitimate basis to set aside in any respect the jury’s decision."
A panel of seven jurors had decided in Depp's favor for all of his allegations against Heard. They awarded him $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive penalties. Later, Judge Penney Azcarate decreased the fine to $350,000, which is the maximum amount permitted by Virginia law.
In her countersuit, Heard made only one claim. The jury decided that Depp's attorney had defamed her by labeling her claims a "hoax" in a statement to the media. Damages of $2 million were given to her. Heard intends to file an appeal, according to Bredehoft.