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Judge Rejects Amber Heard’s Request For New Trial Against Johnny Depp

Posted 2022/07/14 7 0

The judge who presided over the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard defamation trial has denied Heard’s legal team’s motion for a mistrial in the case.

 

 

Amber Heard‘s recent attempt to get a new trial in her case against Johnny Depp has been denied. Heard filed a motion for a mistrial to be declared and a new trial ordered on the grounds that one of the jurors was not the person who was actually summoned during the trial. The actress lost the defamation case against her, filed by Depp in 2019 after she wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post, which alluded to her former spouse being a domestic abuser and allegedly cost him roles in high-profile projects like Pirates of the Caribbean 6 and Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.

Depp and Heard met on the set of The Rum Diary in 2009 and began dating in late 2011 before marrying in 2015. Heard filed for divorce in 2016 with a $7 million settlement reached out of court and a non-disparagement clause put into the document, prohibiting either party from saying anything negative about the relationship. In 2018, Heard wrote the op-ed that sparked the court battle, which prompted The Sun tabloid to run a story calling Depp a “wife beater.” Depp sued The Sun for libel, but lost the case. The actor then sued Heard for defamation, leading to the 2022 trial that saw him emerge the victor. Heard was ordered to pay Depp $10.35 million in damages, while Depp was ordered to pay Heard $2 million in damages for her countersuit.

 

After the trial, Heard’s legal team filed the motion to have the case declared a mistrial with a new trial requested, due to a juror mishap over a mixed-up last name, despite the individual being vetted by the court and the legal teams of both parties. Judge Penney Azcarate, the Fairfax Country judge who presided over the 6-week-long trial, denied all of Heard’s motions (via Deadline), stating that “There is no evidence of fraud or wrongdoing.” Both Heard and Depp’s legal teams were given the jury list five days prior to the trial start date and had every opportunity to object prior to or during the trial, but did not. Judge Azcarate finalized the decision, saying:

 

 

Judge Azcarate also stated that “a party cannot wait until receiving an adverse verdict to object, for the first time, on an issue known since the beginning of the trial. The issue has been waived.” Despite the denial of a mistrial, Heard’s legal team can still appeal the verdict, which they have previously said they would, calling the ruling “excessive” and “indefensible.” Both Heard and Depp issued statements after the verdict, with Heard saying it was a “setback” for other women who have suffered domestic abuse. Depp said that he was “humbled” by the jury’s ruling, which gave him his life back.

While Heard’s legal team is sure to file an appeal for the verdict, it’s questionable if it will have any kind of effect one way or another in the public’s eye. If anything, it could possibly get Heard out of paying the full amount to Depp she now owes, but it’s unlikely to sway public opinion over the case unless there’s new evidence to strengthen her case. After two trials, however, it seems like a third would be doubtful, especially after so much evidence has already been gathered for both trials already. In the meantime, Depp is preparing to get back to acting with the period film Jeanne du Barry, while Heard may (or may not) appear again as Mera in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom next year.