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Amber Heard’s lawyers have asked a judge to throw out the US$10.35-million verdict against her in the defamation case filed by ex-husband Johnny Depp, arguing that the verdict was not supported by the evidence and that one of the jurors may not have been properly vetted by the court.

In post-trial motions filed Friday, Ms. Heard’s attorneys call the jury’s June 1 award of US$10-million in compensatory damages and US$5-million in punitive damages to Mr. Depp “excessive” and “indefensible.” They ask the judge to set aside the verdict and dismiss Mr. Depp’s lawsuit or order a new trial. Immediately after the verdict, the judge reduced the compensatory damages to US$350,000 under a state cap.

Mr. Depp sued Ms. Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court over a December, 2018, op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” Mr. Depp’s lawyers alleged he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned him by name.

The six-week televised trial turned into a spectacle that offered a window into their dysfunctional marriage. Much of the testimony focused on Ms. Heard’s claims that she had been physically and sexually abused by Mr. Depp. Ms. Heard described more than a dozen alleged assaults, including a fight in Australia – where Mr. Depp was shooting a Pirates of the Caribbean sequel – in which Mr. Depp lost the tip of his middle finger and Ms. Heard said she was sexually assaulted with a liquor bottle.

Mr. Depp said he never hit Ms. Heard and that she was the abuser.

Mr. Depp had to prove that he never assaulted Ms. Heard, that her op-ed piece defamed him and that she wrote the article with actual malice.

In their post-trial motions, Ms. Heard’s legal team argued that to find that Ms. Heard had actual malice, Mr. Depp would have had to show that at the time Ms. Heard’s article was published, she did not believe she had been abused.

“Instead, the evidence overwhelmingly supported Ms. Heard believed she was the victim of abuse at the hands of Mr. Depp,” Ms. Heard’s lawyers say in their motion.

Ms. Heard’s lawyers also ask the judge to investigate “potential improper juror service,” alleging that one of the jurors who was chosen to serve on the jury was listed as being born in 1945 in documents given to the attorneys before the jury selection process, but is listed as being born in 1970 in publicly available information.

“This discrepancy raises the question whether Juror 15 actually received a summons for jury duty and was properly vetted by the Court to serve on the jury,” Ms. Heard’s lawyers said in their motion.

Mr. Depp’s attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The jury also awarded Ms. Heard US$2-million in her counterclaim against Mr. Depp, finding that that Ms. Heard was defamed by one of Mr. Depp’s lawyers, who accused her of creating a detailed hoax that included roughing up the couple’s apartment to look worse for police.

In some ways, the trial was a replay of a lawsuit Mr. Depp filed in Britain against a British tabloid after he was described as a “wife beater.” The judge in that case ruled in the newspaper’s favour in 2020 after finding that Ms. Heard was telling the truth in her descriptions of abuse.

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