ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CBSLA.com/AP) — A Florida judge on Wednesday denied Gawker’s motion for a new trial in the Hulk Hogan sex-video case and won’t reduce a $140 million jury verdict.
Judge Pamela Campbell’s ruling is the latest development in a yearslong legal fight between Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, and the gossip website.
Hogan sued Gawker after it posted a 2007 video of him having sex with Heather Clem, wife of his then-best friend Bubba The Love Sponge Clem, a local Tampa DJ who made the video. During the Gawker trial, Hogan mournfully described how Clem betrayed his trust.
The three-week trial was a lurid inside look at the business of celebrity gossip and a debate over newsworthiness versus celebrity privacy.
Hogan’s lawsuit was backed financially by Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, according to reports Wednesday. Gawker outed Thiel as gay in 2007, before he had made any public statement on the matter.
In March, a Pinellas County jury awarded Hogan $115 million in compensatory damages plus an added $25 million in punitive damages.
Earlier this month, Hogan sued Gawker again, saying the website leaked sealed court documents containing a transcript that quoted him making racist remarks.
Gawker denies that it leaked the transcript to the National Enquirer. In the transcript, Hogan, who is white, makes several racist statements about his daughter’s ex-boyfriend, who is black. Once the Enquirer published the story, WWE severed its longtime ties with the famous wrestler.
The suit in Pinellas County Court also accuses a talent agent, two disc jockeys, a radio company and a lawyer of conspiring to send news media outlets the sex tape and causing Hogan emotional distress and economic harm.
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