August 14, 2022

Amber Heard asks court to toss verdict in defamation case

In court documents dated July 1 in the circuit court of Fairfax County, Virginia, attorneys for Heard claim the damages awarded to Depp were excessive and unsupported by the evidence at trial. They also accuse Depp of relying on “time-barred and judicially privileged statements as the basis for his defamation by innuendo claims.”

Heard and Depp were both found liable for defamation in their lawsuits against each other last month, but the jury awarded $15 million in damages to Depp and only $2 million to Heard.

In their filing, lawyers for Heard argue they were improperly precluded from mentioning that Depp lost his highly publicized libel case against the publisher of Britain’s The Sun newspaper in 2020, whose claim that he was an abusive husband sparked a courtroom showdown between the former couple. The judge in that case accepted 12 of the 14 alleged incidents of violence used to support claim in The Sun article.

Depp has denied these incidents of abuse.

Heard’s lawyers also claim that Depp and his team weren’t able to demonstrate any actual reputational or financial damages as a result of Heard’s Washington Post op-ed at the center of the Virginia case. They argue that Depp did not meet legal requirements for proving actual malice as evidence supported Heard’s belief that she was a “victim of abuse at the hands of Mr. Depp.”

Additionally, Heard’s attorneys contend that the information on the jury panel list sent to the parties’ counsel ahead of trial appears to be “inconsistent” with the demographics of one of the jurors.

Juror 15 was apparently born in 1970 not 1945, her lawyers note. They question whether the juror was properly vetted or qualified to serve.

The court filing asks the court to investigate the discrepancy, arguing that Heard’s due process was compromised if the individual was not the same individual on the list, or if the clerk did not verify his identity.

CNN reached out to Depp’s attorney for comment on the filing

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