Former TMZ employee snaps back after Amber Heard lawyer suggests he’s testifying for Johnny Depp for fame

‘I stand to gain nothing from this. I’m actually putting myself kind of in the target of TMZ,’ Morgan Tremaine told the court

Maanya Sachdeva
Thursday 26 May 2022 15:43
Johnny Depp witness accuses Heard's legal team of using her for '15 minutes of fame'

A formerTMZ employee testifying for Johnny Depp in his defamation trial against Amber Heard offered a scathing response when her lawyer suggested he was looking for his “15 minutes of fame”.

Morgan Tremaine appeared as a witness for the Pirates of the Carribbean actor on Wednesday in Fairfax, Virginia where Mr Depp’s multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife is currently underway.

When Ms Heard’s lawyer Elaine Bredehoft suggested Mr Tremaine would get his “15 minutes of fame” by participating in the televised trial, he replied: “I could say the same thing about taking Amber Heard as a client, for you.”

“I stand to gain nothing from this. I’m actually putting myself kind of in the target of TMZ, a very litigious organisation, and I’m not seeking any 15 minutes here,” he also said.

Formerly employed as a field assignment manager at TMZ, Mr Tremaine testified on Wednesday that he dispatched photographers to the Los Angeles courthouse where Ms Heard was awarded a restraining order against Mr Depp in May 2016.

Mr Tremaine said TMZ had been tipped off about Ms Heard’s appearance at the court house, but did not reveal who the source of the verified tip was.

“The objective was to capture her leaving the courthouse and she was going to stop and turn to the camera and display the bruise,” Mr Tremaine told the jury.

On 27 May 2016, the celebrity news website ran an exclusive story titled: “AMBER HEARD CLAIMS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE Gets Restraining Order Against Johnny Depp”. The news story was accompanied by a picture of Heard’s bruised eye.

During his testimony, Mr Tremaine said it was very rare for paparazzi to be dispatched to a court unless they’d received a tip.

He also testified to TMZ photographers being sent to a law office where Ms Heard was giving a deposition, on 6 August 2016. Once again, he stated that recording at such a location was not common.

Mr Tremaine on Wednesday also described the circumstances under which a video of Mr Depp slamming cupboard doors and throwing a wine bottle was leaked to the outlet. He said it was published on TMZ about 15 minutes after he received it, explaining that copyrighting a video can take weeks if the identity of the owner is unclear, but a matter of minutes if it comes straight from a known source.

Earlier on Wednesday, TMZ lost its bid to prevent Mr Tremaine from testifying in the trial.

The California-based news organisation filed an emergency motion asking a judge to block Mr Tremaine rom being called as a witness by Mr Depp’s lawyers based on “journalist’s privilege”, court papers revealed.

Lawyers for TMZ wrote that the company wants Mr Tremaine prevented from taking the stand in the case in Fairfax, Virginia, and “disclosing TMZ’s privileged information” during testimony.

In the motion, TMZ said that their concern relates to an article it published on 12 August 2016, entitled “Johnny Depp Goes Off On Amber...Smashes Wine Glass, Bottle.”

Judge Penney Azcarate heard arguments on the motion in court on Wednesday and ultimately denied the request because TMZ is not a party to the case and its arguments have no bearing on the defamation claims.

Mr Depp’s legal team rested its case on Thursday (26 May) – you can follow live updates of the trial here.

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