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shouldn’t be allowed to challenge the defamation trial verdict – even if the wrong juror was seated – because she waited too long to make the claim, Johnny Depp’s lawyer wrote in a motion filed Monday.
Heard’s attorney Elaine Bredehoft alleged in court papers on Friday that a 77-year-old man was summoned for jury duty – but a 52-year-old man, who shares the same last name and address, was improperly seated for the six-week trial in Fairfax County, Virginia.
Based on this new information, Bredehoft argued that the verdict should be thrown out.
The “Pirates of the Caribbean” star’s attorney Ben Chew revealed that the two men are father and son. The middle-aged son was seated as Juror No. 15.
Chew argued that these were not “new facts,” as Bredehoft contended, but a discrepancy her team should have noticed at the outset when they received detailed information on the jurors.
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard attend the European premiere of “The Rum Diary” at the Odeon Kensington, London. (John Phillips/UK Press)
“Ms Heard waived her right to challenge the accuracy of the information listed in the jury panel by failing to raise this objection contemporaneously,” Chew wrote.
Juror No. 15 did not appear to be 77, by Bredehoft’s own admission, but Heard’s legal team made no effort to explore the matter – instead waiting to raise the issue until after the panel awarded Depp $10.35 million.
Chew added that even assuming that a “a son served instead of his father, there would be no prejudice” to Heard.
The younger juror was qualified to serve and was vetted by the judge and lawyers for both sides, the attorney wrote.
Johnny Depp appears to sing about ex-wife Amber Heard in new songs on his “18” album with Jeff Beck. (Getty Images)
Depp’s lawyer also shot down other claims in Heard’s post-trial motion to toss the judgment, including arguments that the damages amount awarded to Depp were exorbitant and the verdict inconsistent.
“While Ms. Heard slings an exceptional amount of mud at the wall in the hope that something might stick, the jury’s verdict on damages was perfectly reasonable and supported by the evidence and testimony in the case,” Chew wrote, calling her arguments “frivolous.”
“Though understandably displeased with the outcome of trial, Ms. Heard has identified no legitimate basis to set aside in any respect the jury’s decision,” he concluded.
A photo combination of Johnny and Amber Heard in Fairfax County Circuit Court, in Virginia. (Evelyn Hockstein/Pool via AP)
A panel composed of seven jurors awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive, finding in favor of the actor on all his claims.
Judge Penney Azcarate later reduced the punitive amount to $350,000 – the maximum allowed under Virginia law.
The jury found in favor of Heard on a single claim in her countersuit, finding that Depp’s attorney had defamed her in a statement to the press calling her allegations a “hoax.” She was awarded $2 million in damages.
Bredehoft previously said the “Aquaman” actress plans to appeal.
Rebecca Rosenberg is a veteran journalist and book author with a focus on crime and criminal justice. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and @ReRosenberg.