Judge Denies Amber Heard’s Request to Toss Johnny Depp Trial Verdict Over Juror

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Update, Wednesday, July 13, 2022: A Virginia judge rejected Amber Heard’s request for a probe into the alleged fake juror on Wednesday, Deadline reports. Last month, Heard’s lawyers asked the judge to throw out the verdict in the Depp v. Heard case over Juror No. 15’s participation in the trial. Judge Penney Azcarate wrote that Heard’s request to toss out the verdict was denied because “Juror Fifteen was vetted by the Court on the record and met the statutory requirements for service. The parties also questioned the jury panel for a full day and informed the Court that the jury panel was acceptable.” She continued, “Voir dire was conducted in a fair and impartial manner, with the Court and both parties examining the potential jurors. There is no evidence of wrongdoing.” Azcarate went on to say that Heard’s legal team had the jury list five days prior to the start of the trial and was responsible for verifying the accuracy of information provided by jurors, according to Virginia law. “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,” wrote the Virginia judge. Her ruling sets the stage for a formal appeal by Heard, which would force the actor to pay an $8.35 million bond to start the process.

Original story published July 8 follows:

Amber Heard’s legal team filed additional documents on Friday asking the court to toss out its verdict in the Virginia defamation case. On June 24, her lawyers argued that Johnny Depp’s team didn’t provide sufficient evidence to prove her op-ed cost him roles, she never named Depp in the op-ed, and most concerning of all, one of the jurors wasn’t who they claimed to be. According to TMZ, the legal team is claiming the Juror No. 15 who was summoned to court and the Juror No. 15 who showed up are not one and the same. On paper, this juror was born in 1945, but Heard’s legal team says the person who showed up to court was much younger — possibly born in 1970. If the court is found to not have done their due diligence vetting the jury, it would be grounds to throw out the verdict rendered by that jury.

In the July 8 supplemental filing, Heard’s legal team added details on how exactly the alleged fake juror participated in the trial. According to the redacted filing obtained by Deadline, there are two individuals who share the same address and the same last name though their ages differ — one a 77-year-old and the other a 52-year-old. “Thus, the 52-year-old [redacted] sitting on the jury for six weeks was never summoned for jury duty on April 11 and did not ‘appear in the list,’ as required,” the filing says. Heard’s legal team implies that the younger individual neglected to properly identify Juror No. 15, allowing them to sit on the jury. In addition, it appears that someone wrongly claimed the juror was born in 1945 in online documents.

These documents are not Heard’s appeal. The initial lawsuit ended with Depp ordered to pay $2 million to Heard and Heard paying over $10 million to Depp. A judge ruled that Heard would have to pay $8.35 million bond in order for her appeal to move forward, per the Blast.

This post has been updated throughout.

Amber Heard’s Request to Toss Verdict Over Fake Juror Denied