HomeEntertainmentJohnny Depp's lawyers argue US$10M verdict should stand, despite juror issue

Johnny Depp’s lawyers argue US$10M verdict should stand, despite juror issue

LOS ANGELES —
Johnny Depp’s lawyers argued Monday that his US$10.35 million defamation verdict against ex-wife Amber Heard should be upheld, despite the possibility that the wrong juror showed up for the trial.

Heard’s lawyers have argued that the verdict should be set aside and a new trial should be ordered because one of the seven jurors in the case never received a summons.

But in a filing on Monday, Depp’s lawyers argued that Heard has not shown that she suffered any prejudice due to the error, and that she waived her right to object by not raising the issue sooner.

“Unsurprisingly, Ms. Heard cites to no case law to support her argument that the service of Juror 15 if he is not the same individual that the Court assigned as Juror 15 somehow compromised her due process and would warrant the drastic remedy of ‘setting aside the verdict and ordering a new trial,'” Depp’s lawyers wrote. “Ms. Heard makes no showing of any prejudice, and accordingly her speculative arguments fail.”

Depp was awarded $10.35 million after the jury found that Heard had defamed him by alluding to her domestic violence allegations in a December 2018 op-ed about the #MeToo movement. Heard was also awarded $2 million in a counterclaim, in which she alleged that Depp’s lawyer had defamed her by accusing her and her friends of creating an elaborate abuse hoax.

Heard’s lawyers have also sought to set aside the verdict for several other reasons. They have argued that Depp’s team made improper arguments at trial, seeking to hold her accountable for the initial domestic violence claims — from 2016 — which Depp had waived his right to challenge in the couple’s divorce settlement.

They also argued that the jurors could not logically have found that Depp suffered any damage from the op-ed, which came more than two years later, after Depp’s reputation had already been severely harmed.

In the filing, Depp’s lawyers pointed to the evidence they had presented showing that Depp lost out on a sixth “Pirates of the Caribbean” film in the wake of the op-ed. They argued that the evidence showed Depp was actually entitled to far more than $10 million.

They also argued that Heard’s lawyers had forfeited their right to challenge Depp’s closing arguments by not objecting at the time.

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