Lawyers for actor Amber Heard have requested that the verdict against her in the dueling defamation lawsuit with ex-husband Johnny Depp be quashed in full.
Heard, who was charged in June on three charges of defamation, said in a 43-page memorandum that the jury’s verdict — and awarded a prize of more than $10 million — on the grounds that it was not was supported by evidence.
Represented by attorney Elaine Bredehoft at the trial, Heard argued, among other things, that it was incorrect for Depp to claim that he lost his role in Pirates of the Caribbean because of Heard’s statements in a Washington Post op-ed.
Depp “continued solely on a theory of defamation by implication and dropped all claims that Ms. Heard’s statements were factually false,” her attorney argued in a motion filed Friday.
Heard also alleges that the judges’ price against her was excessive, as she was handed down after a divided verdict finding that she and Depp had defamed each other.
In an email to Courthouse News, Depp’s lead attorney Ben Chew dismissed the motion to dismiss as “what we expected, just longer, no more substance”.
Heard also alleges that a juror who served during the seven-week trial was not properly vetted by court officials because their year of birth was 1945.
The juror, identified on the file as Juror 15, “was clearly born after 1945. Publicly available information suggests he appears to have been born in 1970,” the motion said.
“This discrepancy raises the question of whether Juror 15 actually received a subpoena for jury duty and was properly vetted by the court to serve on the jury.”
The clerk is required to verify the identities of the jurors, but in this case “it appears that his identity could not be verified,” the motion added.
Judge Penney Azcarate has indicated that he is not inclined to schedule more hearings in the case. In the last legal meeting, on June 24, Azcarate made the final verdict in the official record after Bredehoft pleaded for further hearings.
Azcarate bluntly told Heard’s attorney that if she wanted to appeal the seven-member jury’s verdict, she would have to file a motion in court.
Azcarate also informed Bredehoft that the Aquaman star will have to impose an $8.35 million bond with an annual interest of 6% before an appeal can be filed. Heard’s representatives have said she does not have the money to pay Depp or pay the bail.
With the $10 million verdict against Heard — and a $2 million verdict against Depp on a single defamation charge — now registered in court, there appears to be little chance for the parties to reach an out-of-court settlement.
After the verdict, Depp’s lawyers hinted that the Pirates star may be willing to waive his share of the prize. But Heard has since reiterated many of her allegations against him, including during an interview on NBC, suggesting that, for Heard at least, the matter is far from settled.