A Virginia judge has denied actress Amber Heard’s request for a mistrial in the high-profile defamation case against her ex-husband, Johnny Depp.
Heard was ordered to pay Depp $15 million in damages for defaming him in an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in 2018, in which she described herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” Although the Pirates of the Caribbean star was also ordered to pay Heard $2 million for defamatory statements made by his former lawyer, the verdict was seen as a victory for Depp as it discounted Heard’s claims of domestic abuse.
Heard had asked the court to declare a mistrial and order a new trial, after discovering that one juror served instead of his father, in a case of mistaken identity. The actress’s team said the defamation trial was flawed because this juror had not received a summons.
But Judge Penny Azcarate dismissed the motion, arguing there was “no evidence of fraud or wrongdoing,” and that any objections should have been raised sooner.
Two weeks after the verdict, Heard broke her silence on the trial in an interview with NBC news. “I did say and do regrettable things throughout my relationship. I behaved in horrible, unrecognizable to myself, ways – so much regret,” said Heard. “Until my dying days, I will stand by every word of my testimony,” she added.
The trial was widely followed around the world. Feminist groups consider that it could do a lot of damage to the #MeToo movement, if women who have suffered abuse or sexual violence feel they could face a defamation lawsuit if they speak up. Depp, for his part, views his victory as a vindication of the presumption of innocence.