Judge rejects Amber Heard’s mistrial plea in Johnny Depp case


A judge on Wednesday rejected Amber Heard’s request to declare the high-profile defamation case involving her and her ex-husband Johnny Depp a mistrial. He lost to Depp last month.

“There is no evidence of fraud or wrongdoing,” Judge Benny Askaret said in a court order.

Heard’s representatives did not respond to The Washington Post’s request for comment.

Depp sued Heard for $50 million over a 2018 post op-ed in which she described herself as a public figure representing domestic abuse (without mentioning Depp by name). Depp’s former lawyer, Adam Waldman, sued her for $100 million after calling her allegations a hoax.

Following six weeks of testimony in Fairfax County Circuit Court — the trial took place in Virginia because the Post’s presses and servers are located there — a seven-judge jury on June 1 found that Hurd had indeed defamed Depp with the op. -Ed. He $15 million awarded, an amount reduced to $10.35 million because Virginia law limits punitive damages. Heard was awarded $2 million after Waldman was found to have defamed Heard.

After the Depp-Heard verdict: Confusion, excitement and — for a few — disappointment

Earlier this month, Heard’s attorneys filed a motion to declare a mistrial on several factors, including their claim that one of the seven jurors was not actually the person called for jury duty in April. Prosecutors argued that the jury list included someone “who would have been 77 years old at the time,” but the juror in attendance was a 52-year-old man of the same name who lived in the same apartment.

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“As the Court acknowledges, having an individual not called for jury duty show up for jury duty and serve on a jury is extremely troubling, especially in a case like this,” the attorneys wrote.

In Wednesday’s court order, Asgard denied several of Heard’s post-trial motions “for reasons stated in the record,” but provided a detailed explanation that the service of the jury did not constitute a mistrial. According to Askaret, the date of birth was not included in the summons, and the judge wrote their date of birth on the questionnaire, which “met the statutory requirements for service.” The judge noted that both sides questioned the jury panel and declared it admissible: “Therefore, due process was guaranteed and granted,” he wrote.

Askaret said Heard’s team was given the jury list “five days before the trial began” and had plenty of opportunity to object throughout the weeks-long proceedings.

“The jury was examined, and for the entire jury sat, deliberated, and reached a verdict,” Ascarate wrote. “The only evidence before this court is that this jury and all the jurors followed their oaths, the court’s instructions and orders. This court is bound by the jury’s competent decision.

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