On Friday, Heard’s team made a filing in Circuit Court of Fairfax County claiming that the actress, 36, is entitled to a mistrial “based on newly discovered facts and information” that one of the jurors present for the entire trial was not the one actually summoned for jury duty.
The documents claim the person summoned was 77 years old at the time, but a 52-year-old with the same last name and address instead showed up and was seated. Her side said it is “deeply troubling for an individual not summoned for jury duty nonetheless to appear for jury duty and serve on a jury,” especially given the “high-profile” nature of the trial “where the fact and date of the jury trial were highly publicized prior to and after the issuance of the juror summonses.”
Heard’s lawyers said she was not given the proper “due process,” so she requested a mistrial “and a new trial ordered.” That request came a week after Heard’s counsel asked for the verdict to be thrown out altogether because the verdict was not supported by sufficient evidence, in their eyes. Her team argued that Depp “proceeded solely on a defamation by implication theory, abandoning any claims that Ms. Heard’s statements were actually false.”
On Monday, Depp’s legal team fired back with their own filing, insisting the verdict remain and reiterating their evidence.
Last month, the six-week Virginia trial ended with the jury siding mostly with Depp, awarding the 59-year-old actor over $10 million in damages after finding Heard defamed him in a 2018 op-ed, though she didn’t mention him by name in the article. She was awarded $2 million in damages, winning one of her three defamation countersuit claims.
“Though understandably displeased with the outcome of trial, Ms. Heard has identified no legitimate basis to set aside in any respect the jury’s decision,” reads the documents, obtained by Variety. “… Here, the verdict was well supported by the overwhelming evidence, consistent with the law, and should not be set aside. Mr. Depp respectfully submits that the Court should deny Ms. Heard’s Post-Trial Motions, which verge into the frivolous.”
“The court should reject Ms. Heard’s baseless contention that the damages award was excessive and supported by evidence,” they added.
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About the alleged juror mix-up, Depp’s team said, Heard’s “desperate, after-the-fact demand for an investigation of Juror 15 based on a purported error in his birth date” is “misplaced.” They argued that she has “failed to identify any way” that the juror mix-up would have “somehow robbed her of” due process, and clarified that the juror was vetted “just as all of the other jurors were.”
Depp’s team said Heard had “ample time” to verify the juror’s information and raise any concerns prior to the trial, rather than bringing it up after the verdict.
They add, “In a rare moment of candor, Ms. Heard admits that she was aware of this purported discrepancy in Juror 15’s birth year from the very start of trial because ‘Juror 15 … was clearly born later than 1945.’ … Ms. Heard chose not to raise this alleged ‘discrepancy’ with the Court during the voir dire process or at any time during the six-week trial and thereby waived it.”
After the verdict was revealed June 1, Depp said in a statement that he felt like the seven-person jury, made up of five men and two women, “gave me my life back.” Heard, meanwhile, called the verdict a “setback” for women and said, “I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence and sway of my ex-husband.”
In the weeks since the verdict, Depp has been touring overseas performing with Jeff Beck, with whom he is releasing an album this Friday. Heard did a sit-down interview with NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie, where she said she stands by every word of her testimony and that she still has “no ill will” toward Depp.