Actors Amber Heard and Johnny Depp will be waiting in court on May 17, 2022 at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Virginia, USA. (Reuters)
Falls Church, Virginia: Johnny Depp-Amber Heard’s Defamation Trial attracted intense attention for two months earlier this year as a live-streaming, unbanned soap opera featuring one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. But it hasn’t declined quietly.
Earlier this month, Heard’s lawyer filed a 51-page motion requesting Judge Penny Azkarate to revoke the jury’s verdict. This resulted in a $ 10 million defamation claim to Depp and a $ 2 million claim to Heard.
The motion cites several reasons why the verdict is unacceptable, from the surprising decision that both sides have declared some victory to the strange case of false identity with one of the juries.
Among the issues raised:
Depp sued $ 50 million in Fairfax County after writing a 2018 editorial article on domestic violence in the Washington Post, and she called herself a “public man representing domestic violence.” ..
The article did not mention Depp by name, but his lawyer by referring to the highly publicized abuse allegations she made in 2016 when she filed for divorce. Several passages have stated that he has implicitly defamed him.
Heard then filed a $ 100 million counterclaim for defamation. By the time the case was brought to justice, her counterclaim had been narrowed down to several statements by one of Depp’s lawyers who called Hard’s allegations of abuse hoaxes.
The jury awarded Depp $ 15 million and Hard $ 2 million for her counterclaim. The $ 15 million sentence has been reduced to $ 10.35 million as Virginia law limits punitive damages to $ 350,000.
Hard’s lawyer appears in court documents to show that the $ 10 million verdict was unfounded and that the jury was unable to focus on the fallout from the 2018 editorial. Depp’s reputation was damaged as a result of alleged abuse.
However, Depp’s lawyer says the damages are backed by testimony from his agent and others. They state that the precedent that Hard’s team quoted in support of her claim is “decades old, and none has involved international A-list celebrities.”
Steve Cochran, a Virginia civil lawyer appointed by a judge as a neutral mediator to minimize pretrial discovery disputes, said in Hollywood long before the actor’s reputation was announced. Was ruined.
Still, he said he was skeptical that Hard could put the verdict aside.
Scott Surovell, a lawyer and democratic senator who practices legal affairs at Fairfax, also said there was little reason to revoke damages.
“What the judge is looking for … is that the verdict was well-supported in the trial and was not based on speculation or speculation. (Dep) makes a lot of money from the movie. It’s based on speculation and speculation that I can’t hear like damages, but it’s based on evidence. “
Hard’s lawyer argues that Depp’s verdict on the one hand and Hard’s verdict on the other are basically meaningless.
“The jury’s duel verdict is inconsistent and cannot be reconciled,” her lawyer wrote.
However, Depp’s lawyer states that the verdict format used by the jury was able to accurately represent the statement that was determined to be defamation. When you look at the individual statements, they say the duel verdict makes sense.
Virginia Beach lawyer Jeremiah Denton III, who has experience in defamation cases, said he did not consider the verdict to be irreconcilable.
If anything, the most endangered award was given hard because Depp said it was legally doubtful that he could be held liable for his lawyer’s remarks. It’s a dollar.
“I don’t understand why the judge allowed the matter to be passed on to the jury,” he said.
Judge # 15
One of the most unusual items in the discussion is the case of an apparently false identity with one of the jury trials. According to court documents, a 77-year-old county citizen received a subpoena for trial. However, the son of a man who lives at the same address with the same name served in his place in response to the summons.
Virginia law is strict about the jury’s identity, and if you make a mistake, it’s a suspicious reason, Hard’s lawyer said. They do not provide evidence that the 52-year-old son, identified in court documents only as Jury # 15, attempted to replace his father intentionally or unknowingly, but the possibility He insists that it should not be underestimated.
“The court cannot assume that the apparently inappropriate service of jury 15 was an innocent mistake, as Mr. Depp requested. It is intentional to serve the jury in a high-profile case. It could have been an attempt, “writes Hard’s lawyer.
Baltimore lawyer Paul Bekman, who also filed a proceeding in Virginia, said the Hard team needs to raise issues regarding the jury in advance.
“Anyone looking at 52 and 77 can (hopefully) say that there is a 25-year difference, and they will have the right to ask about it,” he said. I believe it’s too late to complain about the jury. “
Cochrane also said he was skeptical that the turmoil could set aside trial failures and judges’ verdicts, but warned that the problem was so rare that it was difficult to predict. did.
“I’ve been practicing for 50 years and haven’t seen the problem occur,” he said.