Court Stenographer for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Trial Saw “Jurors Dozing Off”

"They’d just sit there and all of a sudden I'd see their heads drop"

Johnny Depp Amber Heard Juror Defamation Trial Court Stenographer Judy Bellinger
Johnny Depp / Amber Heard, photos via Getty Images

    While the trial for Johnny Depps $50 million defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard seemed to completely consume the American pop culture conversation during its six-week proceedings, the case was not compelling enough to hold the attention of the actual jurors deliberating it.

    In an interview with Law & Crime Network, which livestreamed the entire trial, the court-appointed stenographer Judy Bellinger revealed what the multi-camera set-up evidently did not capture: “There were a few jurors dozing off… It was tough,” she said. “There was a lot of video deposition and they’d just sit there and all of a sudden I’d see their heads drop.”

    Bellinger began by her sharing her perspective on the jury selection process before acknowledging potential, arguably more deserving, alternate jurors, whom she used to compare against those who appeared inconsistently attentive. She praised the majority of the group for “listening intently” but admitted that, “unfortunately, when the jury was chosen we knew there were going to be some that wouldn’t see it all the way through.” The alternate whom Bellinger considered the “best juror” ultimately did not make it to the end either, but Bellinger did note that “she never dozed off.” Watch the full clip below.


    On June 1st, the trial concluded with the jury awarding Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and an additional $5 million in punitive damages (with punitive damages adjusted to $350,000 by the judge), while granting Heard $2 million from her $100 million countersuit for compensatory damages. Heard’s attorney Elaine Bredehoft has stated they will appeal partly due to their partiality of the jury, who they believe were swayed by the social media frenzy surrounding the events. “How can you not? They went home every night, they have families. The families are on social media. We had a ten-day break — there is no way they couldn’t have been influenced.”

    It’s yet to be seen how the verdict will further affect Depp and Heard’s acting careers, a topic which already became a central argument during the trial, though it looks like the former won’t lose another wink of sleep over it as he preps a new collaborative album with Jeff Beck, announced for July.