TMZ is trying to stop Johnny Depp from calling an ex-employee to testify

TMZ filed a summary motion in court on Tuesday to stop Johnny Depp from calling a former gossip site contributor to testify in the ongoing defamation trial against Amber Heard.

According to the filing, TMZ is trying to prevent Morgan Tremaine, who worked as a field assignment manager, from testifying, Variety reported.

“TMZ has promised this source that it will maintain their confidentiality and will not disclose their name or any other information about them,” the outlet’s attorneys said in a statement.

“TMZ makes such confidentiality commitments from time to time to enable it to release information in the public interest, relying on the journalist’s privilege to protect the identities of confidential sources.”

Depp’s legal team said they wanted to call Tremaine – who provided TMZ with a video of Depp, 58, yelling at Heard, 36, and slamming cabinets – on Wednesday, but declined to say what kind of questioning they would follow.

Lawyers for TMZ argued that Tremaine had nothing to do with the video and that any testimony was based on “rumor and conjecture.”

TMZ also argued that under Virginia law, the source’s identity should be protected by journalist privilege. The outlet says Tremaine’s testimony at the trial is irrelevant.

Video given to TMZ shows Johnny Depp yelling at Amber Heard and slamming cupboards.
Video given to TMZ shows Johnny Depp yelling at Amber Heard and slamming cupboards.
Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/Pool via AP
Amber Heard denied claims she shared the video with the outlet and was paid for it.
Amber Heard denied claims she shared the video with the outlet and was paid for it.
EVELYN HOCKSTEIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
TMZ has argued that the former employee's testimony is irrelevant to the current trial.
TMZ has argued that the former employee’s testimony is irrelevant to the current trial.
Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

Camille Vasquez — Depp’s attorney — hinted during her cross-examination of Heard that she leaked the video and paid TMZ to do so.

Heard vehemently denied the claim.

Vasquez also claimed that Heard was responsible for telling TMZ about a restraining order that Depp received in 2016. Heard has also denied the allegation, saying it was Depp’s divorce attorney, Laura Wasser, who had close ties to TMZ.

The closing arguments in the defamation trial against Depp-Heard are scheduled to begin on Friday.

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