RICHMOND (VA) -- Amber Heard's lawyers asked a judge for a reversal of her $10.35 million verdict in her defamation case against Johnny Depp. They argued that the verdict was not supported and that one juror may not have been properly vetted.
Heard's lawyers filed post-trial motions Friday claiming that the jury's June 1 award to Depp of $10 million in compensatory damages, and $5 million in punitive damages was excessive and indefensible. They request the judge to either set aside the verdict or dismiss Depp's case. The judge reduced the compensatory damages from $10 million to $350,000 immediately after the verdict. This was in accordance with a state cap.
Fairfax County Circuit Court heard that Depp sued Heard over an op-ed in December 2018 in The Washington Post in which she called herself "a public figure representing domestic violence." Depp's lawyers claimed that he was defamed in the article, even though it did not mention him.
Their six-week-long televised trial became a spectacle that provided a glimpse into their dysfunctional marriage. Heard claimed that Depp had physically and sexually assaulted her. Much of the testimony was focused on this claim. Heard described over a dozen alleged assaults. Heard also mentioned a fight in Australia, where Depp was filming a sequel to "Pirates of the Caribbean". In which Depp lost the tip of the middle finger and Heard claimed she was sexually assaulted using a liquor bottle.
Depp claimed that he didn't hit Heard, and that she was the victim.
Depp needed to prove that Heard never assaulted him, that his op-ed piece was defamed and that the article was written with actual malice.
Heard's legal team claimed that in order to prove that Heard was actually maliced, Depp would need to prove that she believed she was not abused at the time Heard published her article.
Heard's lawyers state in their motion that "Instead, evidence overwhelmingly supported Ms. Heard believed that she was the victim abuse at the hands Mr. Depp."
Heard's lawyers ask the judge to investigate the "potentially improper jury service." They claim that one of the jurors chosen to serve on the jury was born in 1945 according to documents provided to them by the attorneys. However, public information lists him as having been born in 1970.
Heard's lawyers stated in their motion that "this discrepancy raises questions whether Juror 15, actually received a summons to jury duty and was properly checked by the Court for service on the jury."
Depp's lawyers did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
In her counterclaim against Depp the jury awarded Heard $2,000,000. It found that Heard had been defamed in her counterclaim. Depp's lawyer claimed that Heard created a detailed hoax, including robbing their apartment to make it look worse for police.