Richmond, Va. — Amber Heard’s lawyers asked a judge to dismiss the verdict in the trial – which requires a payment of $ 10.35 million – for the defamation lawsuit filed against the actress by her ex-husband Johnny Depp, arguing that the ruling was not supported by the evidence and that one of the jurors may not have been properly vetoed by the court.
Watch the video: Amber Heard confesses in the first interview she offers after the trial
In post-trial motions filed Friday, Heard’s attorneys called the award — $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages for Depp — “excessive” and “indefensible.” The lawyers also asked the judge to set aside the verdict and dismiss Depp’s lawsuit or order a new trial. Immediately after the verdict, the judge reduced the compensatory award to $350,000 under the state limitations. Originally the jury had awarded a total of $15 million to Depp.
Depp sued Heard for defamation in Fairfax County Circuit Court over a December 2018 op-ed published in the newspaper. Washington Post in which she described herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” Depp’s lawyers argued that the actor was defamed by the article even though he was not mentioned by name.
The six-week televised trial turned into a spectacle that opened a window into a dysfunctional marriage. Much of the testimony focused on Heard’s accusations that she had been physically and sexually abused by Depp. Heard described more than a dozen alleged assaults, including a fight in Australia, where Depp was filming a sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean— in which Depp lost the tip of his middle finger and Heard said she was sexually assaulted with a liquor bottle.
Depp denies assaulting Heard and claims that she was actually the abuser.
Depp had to prove that he never abused Heard, that her op-ed defamed him, and that she wrote the article maliciously.
In their post-trial motions, Heard’s legal team argued that to conclude that Heard acted with true malice, Depp would have had to show that when Heard’s article was published, she did not believe she had been abused.
“Instead, the evidence overwhelmingly supports that Ms. Heard believed that she was the victim of abuse at the hands of Mr. Depp,” Heard’s attorneys said in their motion.
Heard’s attorneys also asked the judge to investigate “possible improper jury service,” alleging that one of the jurors who was chosen had a birth date of 1945 on documents provided to attorneys prior to the jury selection process. , but his date of birth is listed as 1970 in publicly available information.
“This discrepancy casts doubt on whether the 15th juror actually received a summons to serve on the jury and was properly court-barred from jury duty,” Heard’s attorneys said in their motion.
Depp’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The jury also awarded Heard $2 million for her counterclaim against Depp, concluding that Heard was defamed by one of Depp’s lawyers, who accused her of creating a detailed hoax that included altering the couple’s apartment to make it look worse for the family. policeman.
In some respects the trial was a repeat of a lawsuit Depp brought in Britain against a British tabloid in which he was described as a “beating husband”. The judge in that case ruled in favor of the newspaper in late 2020 after concluding that Heard was telling the truth in the abuse descriptions of him.