A former employee of entertainment news outlet TMZ took the stand on Wednesday in the ongoing defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.
The former field assignment manager, Morgan Tremaine, was called as a witness for Depp, despite objections from TMZ’s parent company, EHM production.
Tremaine was responsible for a team of around 20 paparazzi photographers in Los Angeles.
When asked about who typically tipped off TMZ about a story, Tremaine stated, “Oftentimes it would be publicists, managers, agents, B-list celebrities, and lawyers, definitely.”
Tremaine went on to detail an instance where he was instructed to dispatch photographers to a Los Angeles courthouse on May 27, 2016, the day that Heard filed for a temporary restraining order from Depp.
He explained that his producers would not have given him the assignment without verifying the credibility of the source who tipped them off about the filing.
“We were trying to capture Amber leaving the courthouse and an alleged bruise on the right side of her face,” Tremaine stated.
“She was going to sort of stop and turn towards the camera to display the bruise on the right side of her face, the alleged bruise.”
When asked if TMZ got the shot, Tremaine replied, “We did.”
Tremaine also described being assigned to photograph Heard during her divorce proceedings on three other occasions, including a parking lot adjacent to a law office where Heard was set to appear for a deposition and the infamous video depicting Depp slamming some cabinets that was captured by Heard.
Tremaine confirmed that the video was sent through TMZ’s email tip line and that the outlet was able to quickly verify the source, thus obtaining the copyright to the video.
He also told the court that the video they posted was edited, stating, “It was much shorter than the video that’s been played in this trial.”
“There was a bit at the beginning that was played here in which Ms. Heard is seemingly sort of setting up the camera and getting into position.
“And then, there’s a bit at the end where she’s seemingly snickering and looks at the camera.
“That part was not present in what we received.”
When asked if TMZ edited the video, Tremaine replied, “No. Not even a little.”
During cross-examination, Heard’s lawyer accused Tremaine of seeking his “15-minutes of fame,” to which Tremaine replied,
“I stand to gain nothing from this. I’m actually putting myself kind of in the target of TMZ, a very litigious organization. And I’m not seeking any 15-minutes here.”
Depp’s lawyer, Camille Vasquez, accused Heard of staging a photoshoot at the courthouse when filing her TRO earlier this month.
Heard denied these allegations, stating, “What does that get me? If I wanted to leak things about Johnny I could have done that in much more successful way, in a bigger way for years.”
Vasquez retorted, “Not when you were extorting him for $7 million,” referring to the divorce settlement Heard received.
To this, Heard replied, “I got a fraction of what I was entitled to in the state of California by the way. What extortion?”