By Jennifer Armstrong
Updated February 23, 2010 at 10:07 AM EST

An independent producer has filed a lawsuit against TMZ, claiming the website aired leaked and confidential interview footage of Michael Jackson’s ex wife, Debbie Rowe, shortly after the pop star’s death last summer, according to The Hollywood Reporter. F. Marc Schaffel Productions claims in the suit to own the 2003 footage of Rowe, some parts of which were aired that year and other parts of which were deemed private and confidential by a joint agreement between the producer and Jackson’s ex. After Jackson was indicted on child molestation charges later that year, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff seized the tapes; the sheriff later returned them, the suit says, and claimed to not have released the confidential portions to anyone. But in July, TMZ broadcast some of those confidential portions that included Rowe joking about needing sedatives to deal with her interview nerves. Once the clips appeared on TMZ, Rowe and Schaffel both demanded they be removed from the site. After first claiming the footage came from a British news station and then revealing the sheriff’s office as the source, the website rescinded the story. Schaffel is now suing TMZ for copyright infringement and conversion, seeking “an estimated value of potentially millions of dollars, the exact amount of which shall be proved at trial.”