Some jurors dozed off during Johnny Depp’s defamation trial against Amber Heard, according to the court stenographer recording the proceedings.
Speaking to Law&Crime Network in a video released on Monday (June 6), stenographer Judy Bellinger explained that a few jurors in the back and front rows struggled to stay awake over the six-week trial.
“There were a few jurors that were dozing off,” Bellinger said. “It was tough because there was a lot of video depositions. They would just sit there and, all of sudden, I’d see their heads drop.”
Bellinger however stated the majority of jurors “listened very intently” but “the best juror” was an alternate who didn’t contribute to the final verdict. The jury at the trial consisted of seven members and two alternates.
— Law&Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) June 6, 2022
“Unfortunately, the one alternate that was on there, she was probably the one that listened the most. 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. She was paying close attention.”
Alternates are called upon if a juror can’t continue in the trial for illness or emergency reasons, but they don’t decide a verdict unless they officially replace a juror.
The jury ruled in favour of Depp earlier this month, finding that Heard defamed her ex-husband when she wrote a 2018 op-ed in the Washington Post in regards to being a survivor of domestic violence. Heard didn’t mention Depp by name in the piece, though Depp’s lawyers argued it falsely implied she was sexually and physically abused by him in their marriage.
Following the ruling, Depp was awarded $10million (£8million) in compensatory damages and $5million in punitive damages. Heard was awarded $2million in compensatory damages for her counterclaim against Depp. Heard plans to appeal the verdict.
In a statement released after the verdict, Heard said: “The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband.”
“I am, and have been, overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and the colossal support and kindness from around the world,” Depp said in his statement following the trial. “I hope that my quest to have the truth be told will have helped others, men or women, who have found themselves in my situation, and that those supporting them never give up.”