Founder vows to appeal $115 million verdict in sex-tape case on Friday
After being slapped with a $115 million verdict in the Hulk Hogan sex tape case on Friday, Gawker founder Nick Denton said that the case will be appealed.
In a statement provided to TheWrap, Denton also complained that “key evidence and the most important witness” in the case were not presented to the jury.
“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,” Denton said.
Denton noted that Gawker had already begun to prepare its appeal of 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,” he concluded.
Hogan filed a $100 million suit against Gawker, maintaining that the site invaded his privacy when it published excerpts of a sex tape featuring the wrestling legend and the then-wife of his friend, radio shock jock Todd “Bubba the Love Sponge” Clem.
Gawker, meanwhile, maintained that its 2012 publication of the footage was protected by the First Amendment.
During the trial, Hogan (real name: Terry Bollea) testified that he was being recorded during the sexual encounter, and only became aware of its existence through media reports.
Earlier, he testified that the publication of the sex tape has “turned my world upside-down,” adding, “I was completely humiliated.”
In closing arguments on Friday, Hogan’s attorney slammed Gawker for not reaching out to Hogan or anybody else involved in the tape before publishing the footage.
In a statement issued earlier Friday, Gawker complained that Clem had not been ordered to take the stand.
“Hulk Hogan‘s best friend Bubba the Love Sponge — who made the tape and offered up his wife in the first place — originally told his radio listeners that Hulk Hogan knew he was being taped,” the company said. “The jury was only able to hear a questionable version of events. Bubba should have been required to appear in court and explain what really happened.”
The company also hinted at the upcoming release of “improperly sealed documents.”
“There is still more to the story,” Gawker said. “We expect the upcoming release of improperly sealed documents, important evidence that the jury should have been able to see, will begin revealing the true facts that the jury deserved to know about during deliberations.”