The judge in the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial agreed to keep the names of the seven jurors who decided that case a secret for a year, while Heard’s attorney claimed those jurors were swayed by social media vitriol against her client.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, the jury found for both Heard and Depp — but gave the lion’s share of the ruling to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor. Depp, who sued for $50 million, was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages (reduced to $350,000 in accordance with Virginia law), while Heard was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages.
Attorney Elaine Bredehoft told “Today” that Heard “absolutely” will appeal the decision and “has some excellent grounds for it.”
EXCLUSIVE: @SavannahGuthrie talks to Amber Heard’s attorney, Elaine Charlson Bredhoft, following Johnny Depp's legal win. pic.twitter.com/i1EOlz1NcU
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) June 2, 2022
“She was demonized here,” Bredehoft said. “A number of things were allowed in this court that should not have been allowed, and it caused the jury to be confused. We weren’t allowed to tell them about the U.K. judgment.”
Depp lost a libel case against UK tabloid The Sun. He sued the paper for calling him a “wife beater.”
Bredehoft also said that the jurors were “absolutely” aware of the vitriol against Heard on social media and were undoubtedly “influenced by it.”
“They went home every night. They have families. Their families are on social media. We had a 10-day break in the middle because of the judicial conference,” she said. “There is no way they couldn’t have been influenced by it. It was was horrible. It was really, really lopsided. I was against cameras in the courtroom and I went on record with that and argued against it because of the sensitive nature of this. It made it a zoo.”
Meanwhile, Insider reported that Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Penney Azcarate ruled before the end of the trial that the jurors could remain anonymous for a year after the trial’s end.
The initial request was made by Heard’s attorneys. While that document was not immediately available, two other documents attached to the order — which did not explain the decision — were.
In a handwritten note attached to a May 16 order, one of Depp’s attorneys wrote, “Agreed as to the proposed relief but objecting to and not agreeing to characterizations as to Mr. Depp’s interactions with his fans, etc.”
Two days later, one the actor’s attorneys wrote in another document, “agreed only excepting some characterizations in defendant’s motion to which plaintiff objects.”
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[Featured image: Amber Heard and Johnny Depp in court on May 3, 2022. (Jim Watson/Pool photos via AP)]