Amber Heard loses bid to overturn verdict in blockbuster Johnny Depp defamation trial

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Amber Heard loses bid to overturn verdict in blockbuster Johnny Depp defamation trial
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Amber Heard’s motion to have the verdict of her blockbuster defamation trial against Johnny Depp thrown out has been rejected by a judge.

The Aquaman star’s legal team filed a motion earlier this month arguing the verdict that she had defamed her ex-husband was not supported by evidence.

They also alleged that a juror had not been properly vetted.

However Judge Penny Azcarate rejected her legal requests on Wednesday.

The judge said the juror issue specifically was irrelevant and that Heard cannot show she was prejudiced.

Johnny Depp testifying at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Johnny Depp testifying at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The 36-year-old actress still has the ability to appeal the verdict to the Virginia Court of Appeals.

Depp, 59, sued for $50million in Fairfax County after Heard wrote a 2018 op-ed piece in The Washington Post about domestic violence in which she referred to herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.”

The article never mentioned Depp by name, but his lawyers said several passages in the article defamed him by implication by referring to highly publicised abuse allegations she made in 2016 as she filed for divorce.

Heard then filed a $100million counterclaim, also for defamation. By the time the case went to trial, her counterclaim had been whittled down to a few statements made by one of Depp’s lawyers, who called Heard’s abuse allegations a hoax.

Johnny Depp v Amber Heard defamation lawsuit in Virginia (2022)

The jury awarded $15million to Depp and $2million to Heard on her counterclaim. The $15million judgment was reduced to $10.35million because of a cap on punitive damages in Virginia.

Heard’s lawyers said in court papers that the $10million verdict was unsupported by the facts, and seemed to demonstrate that jurors failed to focus on the fallout from the 2018 op-ed piece - as they were supposed to do - and instead just looked broadly at the damage Depp’s reputation suffered as a result of the alleged abuse.

Depp’s lawyers, though, said the damages were supported by testimony from his agent and others. They said the precedents cited by Heard’s team to support her arguments “are decades old, and none involves an international A-list celebrity.”

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