Judge denies Amber Heard's attempt at mistrial in Johnny Depp defamation case

·Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
·3 min read

Amber Heard isn't getting a new trial in her defamation case against Johnny Depp. Judge Penney Azcarate, who oversaw the six-week spectacle, denied the actress's attempt to toss the verdict and $10.35 million judgment.

Lawyers for the Aquaman star, 36, were seeking a mistrial on multiple grounds. One argument they made was that there was an apparent case of mistaken identity with Juror 15 in that the wrong person from a household reported to court. In her order on Wednesday, the judge said that the juror filled out the jury questionnaire properly and was questioned by both sides.

"The parties also questioned the jury panel for a full day and informed the Court that the jury panel was acceptable," Azcarate wrote. "Therefore, due process was guaranteed and provided to all parties in this litigation ... there is no evidence of fraud or wrongdoing."

The judge added, "Defendant does not allege Juror 15's inclusion on the jury prejudiced her in any way. The juror was vetted, sat for the entire jury, deliberated, and reached a verdict. The only evidence before this Court is that this juror and all jurors followed their oaths, the Court’s instructions, and orders. This Court is bound by the competent decision of the jury."

Heard has yet to speak out about the latest legal blow.

Amber Heard at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Virginia on June 1, 2022 when a verdict is reached in Johnny Depp case.
Amber Heard at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Virginia on June 1, 2022 when a verdict is reached in Johnny Depp case. (Photo: Reuters)

Legal experts told Yahoo Entertainment earlier this week that Heard didn't have grounds for a mistrial.

"The law in Virginia does not support Amber's claim that she was denied due process because of the issue with Juror 15. Her team had the opportunity to question the juror or to raise this issue at that time with the judge. Heard's team accepted this jury panel with the information that they had then and there is no new information that come out since. They had the list of jurors that identified the juror information and birthdate. This motion is a grasp, not a real possibility," legal analyst Emily D. Baker explained.

Depp sued Heard for $50 million over a 2018 op-ed she wrote in which she claimed she suffered physical and sexual abuse. Although she didn't name her ex-husband, the jury agreed it was reasonably inferred to be the Pirates of the Caribbean star. Depp specifically sued over three parts he said were defamatory and killed his career. Depp won on all three with the jury ruling that Heard was never abused — emotionally or physically — by the actor even once. He was awarded $15 million, but due to Virginia state law, it nets out at $10.35 million.

Heard countersued Depp for $100 million over statements the actor's lawyer made to the press. She won one out of the three and was awarded $2 million in damages. The actress didn't settle with Depp, which lawyers hinted was on the table, and will likely appeal.

MORE: Amber Heard's sister posts message of support after Johnny Depp trial: 'I still stand with you'

Lead video courtesy of NBCUniversal and E! News. For more, check out NBC.com.

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