Court documents list juror’s birth year as 1945, but Heard team says public records say it’s 1970
Amber Heard’s legal team claims that a juror in her high-profile defamation trial was not properly vetted and was 25 years younger than listed in court documents.
Ms Heard is seeking to appeal or throw out the June verdict that found her guilty of defaming her ex-husband Johnny Depp.
In a lengthy filing in Virginia court on Friday, the Aquaman actress’s legal team argued the ruling had a number of issues, including poor legal reasoning, an improperly vetted jury, and excessively awarded damages.
Within the document, her lawyers asked that the court should conduct an investigation of Juror 15 regarding “whether jury service was proper and due process was protected”.
The legal team argues: “On the juror panel list sent to counsel before voir dire, the Court noted that the individual who would later be designated Juror 15 had a birth year of 1945. Juror 15, however, was clearly born later than 1945. Publicly available information demonstrates that he appears to have been born in 1970.”
Because this raises the question that the individual who served as Juror 15 may not, in fact, be the same individual listed before the trial, or that the Court Clerk’s office did not verify his identify, Ms Heard’s lawyers argue that her due process was compromised.
They write: “The Virginia Code does not contemplate jury service by someone not on the venire, for good reason … In any case, but especially a high-profile case such as this one, it is critical to ensure no person who is not on the venire is able to serve on the jury, whether by inadvertence or intention.
“Here, the facts show Juror 15 was decades younger than the individual on the jury panel list, raising questions as to whether they were the same or different people.”
Ms Heard requests that the court verify the information and take “appropriate action based upon the results of the investigation, including if appropriate, ordering a new trial”.
Last month, a seven-person civil jury ruled largely in favour of Mr Depp in a split verdict, finding that Ms Heard had defamed him in a 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post in which she implied he had abused her but did not name him.
The decision ordered Ms Heard to pay the Pirates of the Carribbean star more than $10m in punitive and compensatory damages.
It also held one of Mr Depp’s attorneys defamed Ms Heard, who was awarded $2m in punitive damages.