The Amber Heard and Johnny Depp legal saga has just taken another wild and twisted turn. The “Aquaman” actress’ legal team filed new legal docs Friday in Fairfax County, Virginia, court claiming the wrong person served on the jury that awarded the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star a sweeping victory in his defamation case against his ex-wife.
According to the legal documents, obtained by ET, Heard’s team claims that the legal snafu occurred when an unidentified 77-year-old living at an address in Virginia was summoned to jury duty. Problem is, Heard’s team claims, an unidentified 52-year-old living at that exact same address with the exact same last name instead showed up for jury duty, and somehow managed to get picked for the six-week trial and serve as a juror.
As a result, Heard’s team argues, the judge should declare a mistrial and order a new trial. ET has reached out to Depp’s legal team for comment.
“Based on newly discovered facts and information that Juror No. 15 was not the individual summoned for jury duty on April 11, 2022, and therefore was not part of the jury panel and could not have properly served on the jury at this trial,” the documents read. “Therefore, a mistrial should be declared and a new trial ordered.”
The documents also stated, “In this case, the Jury Panel List included an individual named [redacted] with a listed Date of Birth of [redacted], 1945 residing in [redacted], Virginia. This means the individual would have been 77 years old at the time of trial.”
Heard’s team claims that “the 52-year-old 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 attached voter registration information lists two individuals with the last name residing in Virginia, ‘DOB XX/XX/1945 (77)’ — the same person listed on the Jury Panel List, and a ‘DOB XX/XX/1970 (52)’ Both of these individuals apparently live at the same address. The individual who appeared for jury duty with this name was obviously the younger one.”
Heard’s legal team noted that the court has safeguard measures to ensure that the person called for jury duty is the person arriving for jury duty, and they point to the Fairfax County’s Juror Questionnaire webpage, which requires all residents to login using the 7-digit Juror number, zip code and birth date.
“Those safeguards are in place and relied upon by the parties to verify the identity of the correct juror, to ensure due process and a fair trial for all litigants,” the documents state. “When these safeguards are circumvented or not followed, as appears to be the case here, the right to a jury trial and due process are undermined and compromised.”
Furthermore, Heard’s team argues that the actress “has a right to rely on the basic protection, as prescribed by the Virginia Code, that the jurors in this trial would be individuals who were actually summoned for jury duty. In this case, it appears that Juror No. 15 was not, in fact, the same individual on the jury panel. Ms. Heard’s due process was therefore compromised.”
The new legal filing comes after Heard’s attorney asked the judge to toss out the $10.35 million verdict against her, after claiming in court docs that the evidence presented in the case didn’t support the verdict. She had also raised concerns that one of the jurors had not been properly vetted, but Friday’s filing offered the specifics.
Back in June, Judge Penney Azcarate made the verdict official when she entered it into the docket. That hearing officially sealed the June 1 verdict the jury reached, which awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. The punitive damages, however, were reduced to $350,000 in accordance with the state’s statutory cap.
Heard, who still faces legal trouble in Australia stemming from a separate case, was awarded $2 million by the jury in compensatory damages for her counterclaim but nothing in punitive damages. The jury found Depp liable after his attorney referred to Heard’s claims as a “hoax.”
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