As The Blast previously reported, a court filing submitted by Heard’s legal team on June 24 claimed that the jury verdict finding in favor of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor should be thrown out because one of the jurors, Juror #15, was actually an imposter.
On Friday afternoon, Deadline revealed new information from a court filing dated on Friday, July 8.
Amber Heard’s Legal Team Claims That The Johnny Depp Defamation Trial Was ‘Compromised’ By ‘Fake’ Juror
In the new court file, one of the attornies representing Amber Heard, Elaine Bredehoft, claimed that the “Aquaman” actress did not get a right to a fair trial due to an alleged fake juror.
In the court documents, Heard’s legal team wrote, “Ms. Heard had a right to rely on the basic protection, as prescribed by the Virginia Code, that the jurors in this trial would be individuals who were actually summoned for jury duty.”
“In this case, it appears that Juror No. 15 was not, in fact, the same individual as listed on the jury panel,” Heard’s legal team continued. “Ms. Heard’s due process was therefore compromised. Under these circumstances, a mistrial should be declared, and a new trial ordered.”
The previous filing from June 24 listed several reasons as to why the jury verdict’s should be tossed and why the two “The Rum Diary” costars should sit for a new trial. In the June court filing, they previously alleged that Juror #15 was someone much younger than they had initially claimed, based on their own investigation.
Amber Heard’s legal team continues to press the court to do its own investigation on this alleged juror and shared some more information about their own findings.
Alleged ‘Fake’ Juror Reportedly Came From The Same Household As The Person Summoned
According to this recent court filing, the person who was summoned to court and the person who showed up had “the same last name” and appear to reside at the same address as the person who was summoned. According to Heard’s legal team, a 77-year-old individual was summoned to court, but the 52-year-old individual is the one who actually showed up.
In Friday’s court documents, Heard’s legal team wrote, “Thus, the 52-year-old- (redacted) sitting on the jury for six weeks was never summoned for jury duty on April 11 and did not ‘appear in the list,’ as required.”
However, this slip was apparently overlooked by both court officers and clerks and was not noticed until several weeks after the verdict had already been decided. Johnny Depp had sued Amber Heard over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed where she claimed to be the survivor of domestic violence. Depp testified that he had never struck Heard, or any woman for that matter, and claimed that he had lost movie roles and career opportunities due to the stain the op-ed left on his reputation.
Amber Heard & Her Legal Team Are Demanding Answers For The Jury Gaffe
Amber Heard’s legal team is demanding accountability and an investigation into who was really summoned to court and who turned up. As stated in Friday’s 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. 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. Virginia has in place statutory code provisions designed to ensure the person called for jury duty is the person arriving for jury duty.”
“Fairfax County’s Juror Questionnaire webpage furthers this goal by requiring all County residents to login using their 7-digit Juror number, Zip code, and “Birth Date.” Att. 5 (emphasis added). Those safeguards are in place and relied upon by the parties to verify the identity of the correct juror, to ensure due process and a fair trial for all litigants. When these safeguards are circumvented or not followed, as appears to be the case here, the right to a jury trial and due process are undermined and compromised.”
Johnny Depp nor his legal team has publicly responded to the alleged fake juror at the time of this writing.