TMZ on Tuesday (May 24) filed an emergency motion to stop Johnny Depp from calling one of its former employees to testify in his Virginia libel trial.

In the motion, the celebrity news site said it was seeking to protect a confidential source who provided the outlet with a video of Depp yelling at his ex-wife Amber Heard and slamming cabinets.

The video was shown to the jury at the start of the trial.

Depp’s team said it would call Morgan Tremaine, a former TMZ field assignment manager, as a witness on Wednesday.

They didn’t say what Tremaine will be questioned about.

Amber Heard has denied telling news outlets that she was granted a temporary restraining order after filing for divorce from Johnny Depp in 2016. Photo: AFP

TMZ’s attorneys argued that the identity of its source should be protected under journalist privilege in Virginia law.

The outlet also argued that Tremaine’s testimony would be irrelevant to the question of whether Depp and Heard defamed each other.

Depp’s attorney, Camille Vasquez, suggested during her cross-examination of Heard that she leaked the video and that the outlet paid her for it.

“I didn’t do that,” Heard said. “I have nothing to do with it.”

Vasquez also suggested Heard’s team tipped off TMZ when Heard went to court to get a restraining order against Depp in May 2016.

Heard said she was “shocked” that photographers showed up and suggested it was actually Depp’s divorce attorney Laura Wasser, who had close ties to TMZ.

In the motion, TMZ’s attorney argued that Tremaine had nothing to do with receiving the video and that any testimony he might give about the confidential source would be based on “rumor and speculation.”

“TMZ promised this source that it would maintain their confidentiality and not release their names or other information about them,” the outlet’s attorneys wrote.

“TMZ makes such promises of confidentiality, from time to time, in order to be able to publish information in the public interest, and it relies for this on the journalist’s privilege protecting the identity of confidential sources.”

Closing statements for the six-week trial are scheduled for Friday. – Reuters


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