After a sensation two-week trial, the verdict of high-profile court case Hogan vs Gawker has been reached, with a Florida jury awarding former wrestler Hulk Hogan $115m for having his privacy violated by celebrity news site Gawker after they published a sex tape featuring the wrestler.
Hogan, born Terry Bollea, sued Gawker for posting a 90-second video of him having sex with the wife of his former best friend.
Gawker Media founder Nick Denton says he will appeal a jury verdict awarding former pro-wrestler Hulk Hogan $115 million US. The stunning $115 million verdict leveled against Gawker, with punitive damages set to be determined next week, is likely to deracinate what remains of the Gawker Empire.
During closing remarks, Hogan's attorney, Kenneth Turkel, sought to portray Hogan as "a regular family guy" who was hurt by Gawker's actions. Hogan was also married at the time, and both couples have since divorced.
In a move to help strengthen Gawker Media's finances in the face of the Hogan suit, the company recently took on its first outside investor, with investment firm Columbus Nova Technology Partners buying a minority stake, the size of which was not disclosed. "That's why we have already begun preparing, as we expect to win this case ultimately".
"Mr. Bollea is exceptionally happy".
In response to those allegations, Gawker attorney Michael Sullivan argued that publishing Hogan's sex tape was "fair game" and of inherent "public interest".
A guilty verdict, Sullivan said, would have dire consequences. They also asked him if he tried to "shape" any of the media interviews he did in the days after the sex video was posted, by asking media outlets to not discuss the video.
They said Hogan didn't consent to the video, that Gawker didn't follow usual journalism procedures before posting it and that the video wasn't newsworthy.
On the other hand, Gawker lawyers stated that they are going to appeal the jury's decision stating from the start that the sex video was newsworthy and that their position is covered by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
"The video Gawker posted is not like a real celebrity sex tape".
Cole said during the trial that her then-husband had urged her to have sex with Hogan as part of their "open" marriage.
He said the claim was an invention in keeping with the Hogan character.