Amber Heard's legal team singled out a juror who reportedly provided false information about his identity and in doing so may have compromised the final verdict of her defamation trial against ex-husband Johnny Depp, according to a report.
The allegation came in a 43-page memorandum filed on Friday in which Heard's attorneys argued several items with the June 1 ruling as part of a request to have the verdict overturned, according to Newsweek.
Among several unusual factors raised in the Virginia court filing is the claim that one juror is 25 years younger than he had initially claimed to be. Singled out by their number, the filing noted that "Juror 15" provided the birth year of 1945 when, according to available information, he "appears to have been born in 1970," according to Newsweek.
"This discrepancy raises the questions whether Juror 15 actually received a summons for jury duty and was properly vetted by the Court to serve on the jury," the filing continued, adding that the clerk's office is obligated to verify the identity of jurors, but in this case "it appears his identity could not have been verified."
"To the extent that the individual who served as Juror 15 was not, in fact, the same individual on the venire [an entire panel from which a jury is drawn], or that the Court Clerk's office did not verify his identity, Ms. Heard's due process was compromised," the memo stated.
"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."
The filing went on to note that Juror 15 was "decades younger than the individual on the jury panel list" which raises questions as to whether they were "the same or different people."
"Ms. Heard therefore requests that the Court investigate whether Juror 15 was properly part of the venire and whether, prior to jury service, Juror 15 verified his information in the manner prescribed by [Virginia Code]," the motion added. "Ms. Heard further requests this Court to take appropriate action based upon the results of the investigation, including if appropriate, ordering a new trial."
Depp filed a $50 million lawsuit against Heard over a 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post in which she claimed to be a survivor of domestic abuse. On June 1, the jury awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, which were adjusted to $350,000 due to a Virginia law limiting the value of punitive damages available.
Judge Penney Azcarate has indicated that she is not inclined to schedule more hearings in the case, according to the Guardian, which noted that she put her final judgment in the court record on June 24 — after Heard's lead attorney Elaine Bredehoft argued for further hearings — and informed her that she would have to file motions in court if she wanted to appeal the verdict.
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