Johnny Depp verdict could be overturned after shocking new discovery

Amber Heard's lawyers argue for mistrial in a filing that says wrong juror was seated

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In a surprising turn of events, actor Amber Heard’s lead lawyer Elaine Bredehoft filed a supplement to a post-trial motion requesting a mistrial in the months-long Depp v Heard case, The National can exclusively confirm.

Last month, a jury found both Heard and Depp liable for defamation in opposing lawsuits, but awarded Depp $15 million in damages and a mere $2m for Heard.

Heard’s legal team, as expected, immediately filed an appeal — but now may have even more of a leg to stand on as the validity of one of the jurors has been brought into question.

According to Ms Bredehoft’s latest filing, first reported by online outlet Deadline, they contest that the actual seated juror was not the same person listed on the jury panel. In April, one jury summons was sent to a Virginia address, but someone else at the residence having the same last name appeared before the court, Heard’s lawyer argues. The juror seated for the trial was born in 1945 and another legal resident at that address was born in 1970.

“In this case, it appears that Juror No 15 was not, in fact, the same individual as listed on the jury panel…… the 52-year-old [redacted] sitting on the jury for six weeks was never summoned for jury duty on April 11 and did not ‘appear in the list,’ as required,” Ms Bredehoft’s filing reads.

“Ms Heard’s due process was therefore compromised. Under these circumstances, a mistrial should be declared, and a new trial ordered.”

The filing further asserts that none of the court officers or clerks noticed that a 52-year-old was not 77 years of age nor did they ask for identification.

Depp filed the $50m suit against his ex-wife after The Washington Post published an op-ed by the Aquaman star in which she describes herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse”.

Heard has countersued for $100m, arguing that Depp smeared her by calling her a liar. She has also said that she, too, has lost work, including a cosmetics campaign and other acting roles, due to public vitriol over her accusations of abuse.

He reportedly chose to file in Fairfax County, Virginia because that is where the paper’s servers are located as opposed to Los Angeles County, California, where they both reside full-time.

Depp lost a similar libel case against the Sun, a British paper that wrote he was a "wife beater", which you can read about here. A London High Court judge ruled that he had repeatedly assaulted Heard – but Judge Penney Azcarate refused the defence to enter the verdict into evidence and in another questionable move, allowed cameras in the courtroom, rare in domestic abuse trials.

All could be grounds for a successful appeal.

Depp's representatives could not be reached for comment on Friday’s filing.

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Updated: July 11, 2022, 1:09 PM
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