One of the jurors in Johnny Depp’s blockbuster case against Amber Heard was never called for jury duty and was wrongly seated in the trial, an attorney for Heard argued in a Friday court filing.
“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,” Heard’s lawyer, Elaine Bredehoft, said. “Therefore, a mistrial should be declared and a new trial ordered.”
The person called for jury duty was born in 1945 and would have been 77 years old at the time of the trial, Bredehoft wrote in the filing. But the person who was selected for the jury and served on it was 52 years old, according to Bredehoft.
Both of those individuals have the same last name and appear to live at the same address in Fairfax County, Virginia, where the trial was held, according to the filing. But, Bredehoft wrote, the wrong one showed up for jury duty.
The names of the real juror and alleged faux juror are redacted in the court filing, which was first reported by Deadline.
The seated juror appeared to submit false information on the court’s jury questionnaire website, submitting an incorrect birthdate to bypass the court’s safeguards, according to the filing.
“As the Court no doubt agrees, it is deeply troubling for an individual not summoned for jury duty nonetheless to appear for jury duty and serve on a jury, especially in a case such as this,” Bredehoft argued. “This was a high-profile case, where the fact and date of the jury trial were highly publicized prior to and after the issuance of the juror summonses.”
The new filing builds on Heard’s July 1 motion to overturn the verdict, which was also first reported by Deadline.
In June, the jury found both Heard and Depp guilty of defaming each other over claims that each abused each other during their relationship and lied about their actions.
But Depp secured a much larger win, gaining victory in all three of his counts and more than $10 million in damages. Heard won just one of her three counts and was granted just $2 million in damages.
Heard’s earlier filing seeking to overturn the verdict first raised questions about Juror 15’s identity and asked the court to investigate.
“The information on the jury panel list appears to be inconsistent with the identity and demographics of one of the Jurors,” Bredehoft wrote. “Juror No. 15 was apparently born in 1970, not 1945, as reported to and relied upon by the parties — including Ms. Heard — in selecting a jury panel.”
Bredehoft previously said in interviews that she believed mass media attention on the case had influenced the jury, which Depp’s team has denied.
“They went home every night. They have families. The families are on social media. We had a 10-day break in the middle because of the judicial conference,” Bredehoft told NBC’s “Today” show.
“There’s no way they couldn’t have been influenced by it,” she added. “And it was horrible. It was really, really lopsided.”