Judge Denies Amber Heard's Mistrial Request Over Johnny Depp Trial

A judge has denied Amber Heard's motion for a mistrial in the defamation suit with ex-husband Johnny Depp. Heard's legal team had previously filed a motion asking for the court to set aside the verdict and order a new trial in the case, in part, on the grounds that one of the juror's may have been an imposter — specifically that the jury summons was sent to a person from the same household who is 25 older than the juror who actually reported to court.

According to Variety, Judge Penney Azcarate found that Heard's team should have raised their objection to the juror sooner as well as said that there was no evidence of actual fraud.

"Defendant does not allege Juror Fifteen's inclusion on the jury prejudiced her in any way," the judge wrote. "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."

Last month, a court in Virginia awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and an additional $5 million in punitive damages — the latter of which was later reduced to $350,000 due to the state's statutory cap on punitive damages — after finding that Heard defamed Depp in her 2018 op-ed. However, the court also found that Depp had defamed Heard and awarded her $2 million in compensatory damages. Heard has indicated that she will appeal the verdict once it becomes final.

Heard and Depp have been locked in legal battles since their divorce in 2016. In 2020, Depp lost a libel suit against British tabloid The Sun with the English court deciding at that time that the claims made by the paper were "substantially true". As for the current defamation case, the case stems from a 2018 op-ed Heard wrote for The Washington Post in which she wrote about being the victim of domestic and sexual violence and particularly how speaking out about the abuse negatively impact4ed her career. Heard did not name Depp in the op-ed. Depp, sued Heard for $50 million in the suit, alleging that the op-ed led him to lose film roles and other opportunities. Depp has denied the accusations that he abused Heard and insists instead that she is the abuser. Heard countersued for $100 million claiming that Depp's attorney had defamed her by calling her abuse allegations a hoax.