Judge rejects Amber Heard's request for new defamation trial with Johnny Depp

The actress may still appeal the decision to the Virginia Court of Appeals
Johnny Depp, Fairfax, Va., May 2, 2022

A judge on Wednesday rejected actress Amber Heard's bid for another trial of her defamation lawsuit against her ex-husband Johnny Depp.

A jury awarded Depp $10.35 million in damages from Heard in a high-profile civil trial last month. The "Aquaman" actress won a $2 million settlement in a countersuit against Depp. 

Her attorneys asked Virginia Judge Penny Azcarate to toss the verdict and declare a mistrial after it was discovered that the jury summoned a 77-year-old man, but his son who had the same name and was living at the exact same address served instead. 

Heard's attorneys did not present evidence to prove that the juror purposely tried to replace his father, The Associated Press reported.

"The Court cannot assume, as Mr. Depp asks it to, that Juror 15’s apparently improper service was an innocent mistake. It could have been an intentional attempt to serve on the jury of a high-profile case," Heard’s lawyers argued.

"The juror was vetted, sat for the entire jury, deliberated, and reached a verdict. The only evidence before this Court is that this juror and all jurors followed their oaths, the Court’s instructions, and orders. This Court is bound by the competent decision of the jury,” Azcarate wrote.

The actress may still appeal the decision to the Virginia Court of Appeals.

Depp originally sued Heard for $50 million in Fairfax County after she wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post in 2018 in which she did not mention Depp by name but described herself as "a public figure representing domestic abuse."

Heard filed a defamation countersuit for $100 million.

The court originally ordered Heard to pay $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages to her ex-husband, but Virginia limits punitive damages to $350,000.