Jury awards Hulk Hogan $115M in sex tape lawsuit against Gawker

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A Florida jury sided today with wrestling star Hulk Hogan (real name Terry Bollea) in his lawsuit against Gawker.

Hogan was awarded $115 million — $55 million for economic injuries and $60 million for emotional distress. That’s even more than the $100 million that Hogan was seeking, and the jury’s scheduled to return Monday to deal with punitive damages on top of that.

Gawker founder Nick Denton and former editor Albert J. Daulerio were found personally liable, as well.

The lawsuit centered on a sex tape between Hogan and the wife of his then-best friend, radio DJ Bubba the Love Sponge, which Gawker published in 2012. Gawker argued that its decision to publish was protected under the First Amendment and that Hogan had made his sex life a matter of public discussion. Hogan countered that the video was not newsworthy, and that there’s a distinction between Hulk Hogan the character and Terry Bollea the man — and it was Bollea’s privacy that Gawker allegedly violated.

We’ve reached out to Hogan’s legal team for comment. In a statement, Denton said:

Given key evidence and the most important witness were both improperly withheld from this jury, we all knew the appeals court will need to resolve the case. I want to thank our lawyers for their outstanding work and am confident that we would have prevailed at trial if we had been allowed to present the full case to the jury. That’s why we feel very positive about the appeal that we have already begun preparing, as we expect to win this case ultimately.

Gawker announced plans to sell a minority stake to Columbus Nova Technology Partners earlier this year, a move that it said would fund its legal battle with Hogan.

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