FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — One of the jurors in the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard libel trial served improperly, an attorney for Heard alleged in a recent filing asking the court to declare a mistrial and order a new trial.
The ‘newly discovered facts’ show that juror No. 15 in the six-week trial was not the person summoned in April to serve in the case, Heard’s attorney wrote in a five-page memo filed Friday. in front of the Fairfax Circuit Court in Virginia.
Instead, the filing suggests juror No. 15 was a younger person with the same last name who “apparently” lives at the same address.
“As the Court no doubt agrees, it is deeply troubling for someone not called to serve as a juror to nevertheless appear as a juror and serve on a jury, especially in a case such as this,” the filing reads.
Depp sued his ex-wife over a December 2018 op-ed Heard wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic violence.” Much of the testimony focused on whether Heard had been physically and sexually abused, as she claimed. Depp said he never hit Heard and she was the aggressor.
After a televised trial that turned into a spectacle, the jury ruled in favor of Depp on all three of his claims regarding specific statements in the 2018 article.
The jury ruled that Depp should receive $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, but the judge reduced the amount of punitive damages to $350,000 under a state cap .
Heard has previously said she plans to appeal the verdict.
News of Friday’s filing was first reported by Deadline, which posted the document online.
The memo expanded on post-trial motions filed by Heard’s legal team asking the judge to overturn the verdict against her. These requests had raised the possibility that one of the jurors had not been properly vetted by the court.
The latest filing said a “jury roll” in the case included a person who would have been 77 at the time of the trial. Voter registration information lists two people with the same last name “apparently” residing at the same address, the filing says, in which the names have been redacted.
“The person who appeared for juror with that name was evidently the youngest. So the 52-year-old … serving on the jury for six weeks was never called for jury duty on April 11,” violating Heard’s due process rights, according to the filing.
The Associated Press sent emails Sunday seeking comment to a representative for Depp and two of his attorneys.