On Wednesday, a Virginia judge rejected actress Amber Heard’s request to set aside the $10 million awarded to ex-husband Johnny Depp following the conclusion of their defamation trial.
Heard filed a motion earlier this month to either set aside the verdict or declare a mistrial, with her lawyers basing the request on several factors. A major reason was one juror’s case of mistaken identity.
The trial between the former couple, which stemmed from a defamation suit, ended last month with a win for Depp. Heard won a $2 million judgment from a counterclaim she filed against Depp.
Judge Penney Azcarate rejected all of Heard’s claims in a written order. Azcarate deemed the juror issue insignificant, and declared that Heard can’t show she was prejudiced.
“The juror was vetted, sat for the entire jury, deliberated and reached a verdict. The only evidence before this Court is that this juror and all jurors followed their oaths, the Court’s instructions and orders. This Court is bound by the competent decision of the jury,” Azcarate wrote.
After Heard wrote an op-ed piece about domestic violence published in the Washington Post, in which she called herself “a public figure representing domestic violence” but never named Depp, Depp’s lawyers cited passages in the article for his $50 million defamation suit of Heard in Fairfax County. The specific claim was one of defamation by implication, founded in Heard’s reference to abuse allegations she made toward Depp when filing for divorce in 2016.
In response to Depp’s suit, Heard filed a $100 million countersuit for defamation. At the conclusion of the trial in June, the jury awarded Depp $15 million and Heard $2 million. The $15 million judgment went down to $10.35 million under the Virginia law that restricts punitive damages to $350,000.
The news was first confirmed by The AP.