Celebrity news outlet TMZ has filed an emergency motion to prevent a former employee from testifying in the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard defamation case.
The California-based news organization asked a judge to bar the employee from being called as a witness by Depp’s lawyers based on “journalist privilege,” according to court documents.
TMZ’s attorneys write that the company wants to prevent Morgan Tremaine from taking the stand in the case in Fairfax, Virginia, and “revealing TMZ insider information” during testimony.
In the motion, TMZ says its concern relates to an article it published on August 12, 2016, titled “Johnny Depp Goes Off On Amber… Smashes Wine Glass, Bottle” [”Johnny Depp se lanza contra Amber… rompe copa de vino y botella”].
Court documents state that TMZ received a video from a “confidential source” and that the company promised to ensure confidentiality as it “would not reveal his name.”
In the video, which was mentioned during the trial, Depp is seen slamming the furniture doors and throwing a bottle of wine.
During cross-examination, Depp’s lawyer, Camille Vasquez, questioned Heard about the leak and it is likely that the actor’s team will try to find out exactly where the video came from.
The defamation trial between Depp and Heard began on Monday, April 11, in Fairfax, Virginia, following Depp’s lawsuit against his ex-wife in March 2019.
Depp argues that she defamed him in a December 2018 op-ed published on Washington Post titled “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change” [“Me pronuncié en contra de la violencia sexual y enfrenté la ira de nuestra cultura… eso tiene que cambiar”].
While Depp is not mentioned in the article, his legal team argues that it contains a “clear implication that Mr. Depp is a family abuser”, which they say is “categorically and demonstrably false”.
Depp is seeking compensation of “no less than $50 million.” Heard has filed a $100 million countersuit against Depp for the inconvenience, and is also seeking immunity from charges against him.