A Virginia judge on Wednesday denied Amber Heard’s motion for a mistrial in her defamation suit with former husband Johnny Depp, finding no grounds to overturn the jury’s $10 million verdict in Depp’s favor.
Heard had asked the court to nullify the verdict and order a new trial, after discovering that one of the seven jurors did not receive a summons. Heard’s team stated that the jury summons was sent to a person from the same household who is 25 years older than the juror who came to court.
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But in her ruling on Wednesday, Judge Penney Azcarate dismissed that argument, finding that Heard’s team should have raised the objection sooner and that there is no evidence of fraud, and no evidence that the mistake biased the trial.
“Defendant does not allege Juror Fifteen’s inclusion on the jury prejudiced her in any way,” the judge wrote. “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.”
The jury found that Heard had defamed Depp by alluding to domestic violence allegations against him in a December 2018 op-ed. They awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, the latter of which was reduced to $350,000 under the statutory damages cap. The jury also held Depp liable for a defamatory statement made about Heard by his lawyer, and awarded her $2 million.
Heard is expected to file an appeal once the judgment becomes final.
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