A court stenographer just dropped some shocking information about the jurors who decided the fate of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in the highly publicized defamation lawsuit that has been making headlines for most of the past month.
In a new interview with the Law & Crime Network, court stenographer Judy Bellinger claimed that a “few” of the jurors fell asleep during some points of the trial.
Court Stenographer Calls Integrity Of Johnny Depp Jury Verdict Into Question
A seven-person jury that consisted of five men and two women ultimately ruled in favor of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor when they found that Heard’s 2018 Washington Post op-ed, where she declared herself a survivor of domestic violence, was defamatory towards Depp.
The jury announced that they had reached a verdict and were summoned to the courtroom promptly at 3 PM. However, Judge Penney Azcarate sent them back in after she determined that the jury failed to provide information as to the damages they were awarding either party.
Although it could have taken them days to come to a decision, it only took them twenty minutes to decide that they were giving Johnny Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. The $5 million was later reduced to $350,000 dollars – the maximum allowed under Virginia state law.
In Heard’s case, they found that Depp’s attorney committed defamation when he called Heard’s abuse allegations “a hoax” and awarded her $2 million dollars.
On Thursday, Heard’s attorney Elaine Bredehoft called the media attention surrounding the trial “a zoo” and indicated that they plan to file an appeal. They may have stronger grounds to appeal a ruling if jurors were truly asleep while they were supposed to be listening to the evidence.
The Judge Ruled That The Names Of The Jurors Will Be Sealed For At Least One Year
Although she had previously ruled that the identities of the jurors would be sealed for six months, Judge Penney Azcarate later decided to seal the jurors’ names for at least one year, most likely due to the media attention surrounding the trial. With this new information coming to light, jurors may wish that their names were sealed indefinitely.
In a clip from a new interview with Law & Crime Network, Judy Bellinger, the court stenographer, revealed that there were “a few” jurors asleep while evidence was presented.
Bellinger said “there were a few jurors who were dozing off,” both in the front and back row of the jury panel. Although the trial had originally run from 10 AM to 5 PM with Fridays off, the trial went from 9 AM to 5:30 PM during the last few days of the trial.
Even Bellinger admitted that “it was tough” to listen to all of the information with only a few short breaks throughout the day. “There was a lot of video deposition and they would just sit there and all of a sudden, I’d see their head drop,” Bellinger recalled.
The ‘Best’ Juror Never Got To Give Her Opinion In Final Deliberations
Bellinger also revealed that the “best” juror, in her opinion, was one of the jurors that were selected at random not to take part in the final deliberation.
“Unfortunately, the one alternate that was on there, she was probably the one that listened the most,” Bellinger revealed. “I watched her facial expressions, she was very deeply into every word that was being said. I thought she would’ve made a great juror, and she did not get to see it to the end.”
Bellinger added that “she was paying close attention” to everything that was said throughout the trial.
For some reason, the initial tweet was deleted and then reposted later in the day. The clip from the interview where Bellinger talks about the jurors dozing off and her opinions concerning the “best” juror that was not selected for final deliberation can be seen below.
— Law&Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) June 6, 2022
As for Amber Heard, a source recently revealed that she is looking to spend some time with her newborn daughter and her family this summer after the jury’s verdict.