Depp-Heard stenographer says 'a few' jurors 'were dozing off' during trial

Johnny Depp Amber Heard
(Image credit: STEVE HELBER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Some of the jurors in the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial fell asleep during the proceedings, the court stenographer has revealed.

Judy Bellinger spoke with Law & Crime about serving as court stenographer during the recently concluded defamation trial, in which Depp successfully sued his ex-wife for defamation over an op-ed about domestic abuse. The jury listened "very intently," Bellinger recalled. But she said it was unfortunate that the person who seemed to be listening most closely was an alternate, who didn't get to serve on the jury in the end.

"I really thought she was the best juror," Bellinger said. "There were a few jurors who were dozing off. She never, never dozed off."

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Bellinger said she noticed jurors falling asleep both in the front and back row, especially during stretches of time when long video depositions were being played. "There was a lot of video deposition, and they would just sit there, and all of a sudden I'd see their head drop," Bellinger said.

Depp won the defamation case against Heard and was awarded more than $10 million in damages, an outcome that surprised many experts, considering the high bar for proving defamation of a public figure.

Heard attorney Elaine Charlson Bredehoft suggested on the Today show the jurors, who were not sequestered during the trial, were influenced by social media, which was flooded with support for Depp. "There's no way they couldn't have been influenced by it," Bredehoft said. Heard plans to appeal.

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.