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Amber Heard’s attorney urges court to toss out defamation trial verdict

Actor Amber Heard looks on as Travis McGivern, the security guard for actor Johnny Depp, is seen on a monitor as he testifies remotely at Fairfax County Circuit Court during a defamation case against her by Depp, her ex-husband, in Fairfax, Virginia, US. Picture: Steve Helber/Pool via Reuters

Actor Amber Heard looks on as Travis McGivern, the security guard for actor Johnny Depp, is seen on a monitor as he testifies remotely at Fairfax County Circuit Court during a defamation case against her by Depp, her ex-husband, in Fairfax, Virginia, US. Picture: Steve Helber/Pool via Reuters

Published Jul 4, 2022

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Amber Heard wants the verdict of the defamation trial against her ex-husband Johnny Depp to be tossed out.

The “Aquaman” actress's attorney filed a motion requesting that including the $10.35m (R169m) in damages awarded to Depp by the jury, reports “Variety”.

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In addition to Heard’s attorneys arguing that the verdict is not supported by evidence, the 43-page document submitted to the Fairfax County Circuit Court also calls “to investigate improper juror service”, “Variety” says.

It claimed that public information indicates that a juror who served during the trial was born in 1970, despite court officials listing the person’s birth year as 1945.

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Heard’s lawyers said: "This discrepancy raises the question whether Juror 15 actually received a summons for jury duty and was properly vetted by the court to serve on the jury."

“Variety” notes that Heard's legal team also argues that the jurors' $10.35m award against the actress is “inconsistent and irreconcilable” with the jury’s conclusion that her and Depp had defamed one another.

In addition to Depp's $10m in compensatory damages, plus $350 000 in punitive damages, the jury also awarded Heard $2m in compensatory damages for her counter-claim.

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Heard’s attorneys further wrote in the filing that “Mr Depp presented no evidence that Ms Heard did not believe she was abused. Therefore, Mr Depp did not meet the legal requirements for actual malice, and the verdict should be set aside.”

Depp’s lead attorney, Ben Chew, commented on the motion to toss the verdict, dismissing it as “what we expected, just longer, no more substantive” in a statement to “Courthouse News”.

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