Jurors ‘dozed off’ during Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard trial, says stenographer

Actor Johnny Depp greets courtroom stenographer Judy Bellinger after closing arguments at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Va., on May 27, 2022. Getty

The court stenographer in the Johnny Depp defamation lawsuit against the actor’s ex-wife Amber Heard said she witnessed several members of the jury “dozing off” during court proceedings.

In an interview with Law & Crime Network, Judy Bellinger said that at points throughout the six-week trial, jurors in both the front and back rows were falling asleep.

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“It was tough because there was a lot of video deposition,” Bellinger said in the interview.

Both Depp and Heard called over a dozen witnesses each, many of whom testified via web video or pre-recorded depositions. Bellinger seemed to imply that these testimonies were often harder to pay attention to than witnesses who spoke live in court.

Bellinger said that when she observed the seven-person jury, she would occasionally see certain members’ “head drop,” as if sleeping.

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Otherwise, she said the jury was “very intent” and “listening intently” during the trial.

Actor Johnny Depp chats with the court stenographer during a break amid his defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard, at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Va., April 27, 2022. Getty

She also spoke of an alternate jury member who did not join the jury for deliberations, but who Bellinger claimed was more enthusiastic than the rest.

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“The one alternate was probably the one that listened the most,” she said. “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 but she did not get to see it to the end.”

Bellinger continued, claiming the alternate jury member “was paying close attention” and “never dozed off.”

On June 1, a jury in Fairfax, Va., ruled in favour of Depp, 58, deciding he had in fact been defamed by Heard, 36, on three counts, awarding him US$15 million in damages. This amount was later reduced by the judge to $10.35 million due to state law.

Heard was also awarded a partial win, receiving $2 million on a claim that Depp’s former lawyer and press agent defamed her when he called her domestic abuse allegations against the Pirates of the Caribbean actor “an abuse hoax” designed to capitalize on the #MeToo movement.

Last week, Heard’s lawyer, Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, claimed the Aquaman actor would be appealing the verdict from this trial, adding that she “has some excellent grounds for it.” She said Heard is “absolutely not” able to pay the $10-million judgment.

Click to play video: 'Amber Heard’s lawyer speaks out, says cameras in court made trial a ‘zoo’'
Amber Heard’s lawyer speaks out, says cameras in court made trial a ‘zoo’

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