Amber Heard’s bid for a mistrial over alleged juror mistake was shot down by judge
A Virginia judge on Wednesday denied Amber Heard‘s bid for a new trial over allegations that the wrong juror was seated — a claim she made after Johnny Depp won a $10.35 million judgment against her.
“There is no evidence of fraud or wrongdoing,” wrote Judge Penney Azcarate, who presided over the sensational six-week trial in Fairfax County Circuit Court.
Heard’s team had argued in a motion filed Friday that a summons had been sent to a 77-year-old man, but his 52-year-old son, who shares the same name and address, responded instead. The son was seated on the panel as Juror No. 15.
The “Aquaman” actress’ lawyer Elaine Bredehoft said it was the court’s responsibility to verify the accuracy of the jurors’ information.
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But Azcarate, in a terse order, said the law is very clear that it is the responsibility of the parties involved in the case.
Azcarate wrote that the summons issued to Juror No. 15 listed his legal name and address and no birthdate was provided.
She attached to the order Juror No. 15’s jury questionnaire.
“Juror Fifteen completed the Jury Questionnaire as himself filling in his proper birth date,” she wrote. “The information presented on the Jury Questionnaire matches the information Juror Fifteen provided to the Court.”
The judge also noted that both parties questioned the panel for a full day and signed off on each juror. They were sent a jury list five days before the trial began and did not raise this issue.
“A party cannot wait until receiving an adverse verdict to object, for the first time, on an issue known since the beginning of trial,” Azcarate wrote.
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The defendant also failed to show any evidence that she had been prejudiced by the alleged mistake, the judge added.
Azcarate also denied six other claims Heard made in her motion to throw out the verdict.
A Virginia judge on Wednesday denied Amber Heard’s bid for a new trial over allegations that the wrong juror was seated — a claim she made after Johnny Depp won a $10.35 million judgment against her.
(AP Photo/Steve Helber, Pool, File)
Depp’s attorney, Ben Chew, filed a motion Monday calling Heard’s various grounds for a mistrial frivolous.
“While Ms. Heard slings an exceptional amount of mud at the wall in the hope that something might stick, the jury’s verdict on damages was perfectly reasonable and supported by the evidence and testimony in the case,” Chew wrote.
A panel composed of seven jurors awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, finding in favor of the actor on all his claims.
"There is no evidence of fraud or wrongdoing," wrote Judge Penney Azcarate, who presided over the sensational six-week defamation trial against Amber Heard in Fairfax County Circuit Court.
(Michael Reynolds/pool via Reuters)
Azcarate later reduced the punitive amount to $350,000, the maximum allowed under Virginia law.
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The jury found in favor of Heard on a single claim in her countersuit, finding that Depp’s attorney had defamed her in a statement to the press calling her allegations a “hoax.” She was awarded $2 million in damages.
Bredehoft previously said the “London Fields” actress plans to appeal.