Judge rejects Amber Heard's bid for new trial with Johnny Depp

Actress was ordered to pay ex-husband $10.35m in damages after jury ruled she had defamed him in newspaper opinion piece

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Aquaman actress Amber Heard lost a bid for a new trial in her defamation case brought by ex-husband Johnny Depp on Wednesday, when a judge rejected her lawyers' argument that one of the jurors had served improperly.

In June, Heard was ordered to pay Depp $10.35 million in damages after a jury in Fairfax County, Virginia, ruled she had defamed the Pirates of the Caribbean star in a newspaper opinion piece.

Her lawyers had asked the judge in the case to throw out the decision and declare a mistrial, arguing that one of the jurors in the case had not been eligible to serve because his summons was intended for his father, who had the same name and lived at the same address.

Judge Penny Azcarate ruled that there was “no evidence of fraud or wrongdoing” by the juror and that the jury's verdict should stand.

She also noted that both sides had questioned and accepted all jurors at the start of the trial.

“Due process was guaranteed and provided to all parties in this litigation,” Ms Azcarate wrote.

Depp had sued Heard for defamation after she called herself “a public figure representing domestic abuse” in an opinion piece published in The Washington Post.

Depp denied abusing Heard and said she was the one who had turned violent in their relationship.

Heard countersued, saying Depp had smeared her when his lawyer called her accusations a “hoax”.

The jury awarded Heard $2m in damages on one of her counterclaims.

Heard said she only struck Depp in defence of herself or her sister.

Updated: July 13, 2022, 9:01 PM
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