There have been moments of fun at the wild circus known as the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial over the past few weeks. Another one happened this week when a witness hit back at Heard’s lawyer after she accused the witness of grandstanding for his “15 minutes of fame” on the witness stand.
Morgan Tremaine, a former employee at TMZ who had been working for the tabloid, received an anonymous online tip that included a video of Depp slamming cabinets. He said that TMZ could publish the video within 15 minutes of receiving it because they were quickly able to establish its copyright. The speed at which this was done implies that Heard or someone on her team provided the tip and video to TMZ.
Elaine Bredehoft, Heard’s attorney, struck out at Tremaine for this implication:
“You know this case is being televised, right?” Bredehoft asked the journalist.
Tremaine replied: “I’m aware that there are cameras.”
But that wasn’t enough for Bredehoft, who then asked Tremaine, “So, this gets you your 15 minutes of fame?”
“I stand to gain nothing from this,” [Tremaine] replied. “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, though you’re welcome to speculate.”
Tremaine then turned the tables on Bredehoft by hitting back at her, saying, “I’d say the same thing about taking Amber Heard as a client, for you,” causing the courtroom to erupt with laughter, including Depp’s attorney Camille Vasquez.
Bredehoft then accused Tremaine of being a little argumentative, but Tremaine said his comments reflected purely logical thinking.
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Tremaine didn’t want to be there, and TMZ went out of their way to prevent him from showing up at the trial, but he was still called in to testify.
When Heard took the stand earlier in the trial, Depp’s lawyer quizzed her over a “slip-up” she made in a past deposition video deposition admitting she had leaked or possibly sold the video footage to TMZ. Heard denied getting paid for the video but didn’t retract statements that she had circulated it:
“You slipped up there, didn’t you, Ms. Heard?” Vasquez grilled Heard on the stand after playing footage of Heard talking about the leak.
“You let it slip out that TMZ had been alerted to your filing of the domestic violence restraining order, didn’t you?” the attorney continued.
“I disagree,” Heard responded. “That’s not what I’m talking about. … I never got paid for it because I had nothing to do with that.”
Depp and Heard were married for 15 months before the actress filed for divorce. This case came about when ex-husband Depp filed a lawsuit for $50 million over an op-ed piece Heard wrote about domestic violence at The Washington Post. While the actress never mentioned the actor by name, Depp and his attorneys claim he was defamed and lost work, including the beloved role of Jack Sparrow, due to the connection between the op-ed piece and abuse allegations Heard made about Depp in 2016.
Heard is countersuing Depp for $100 million, claiming his allegations against her have harmed her career and reputation.