Gawker expects to lose its court battle with Hulk Hogan over the sex tape it leaked featuring the wrestling icon, company president Heather Dietrick told staff last week.
“It’s probably difficult to win the case entirely, outright, knowing the jury that we’re facing, but it’s possible,” Dietrick said, according to Politico.
Though Gawker sees its prospects of winning as grim, the website doesn’t see Hogan winning the full $100 million he is suing them for.
“More likely than not, we end up with a really small judgment that we can easily carry and we appeal that,” she said said at a staff meeting on Thursday.
Though Dietrick said such a ruling would leave Gawker with a choice.
“Do we appeal that and incur further fees to vindicate the First Amendment rights that we know we’re on the right side of, or do we simply say, OK this very small judgment is a win and makes it very difficult for Hulk Hogan, who’s spent a lot of time on pursuing this case and could walk away with something very small to continue litigating,” she told Politico.
If Hogan scores a large amount, Gawker will immediately appeal to Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal, which Dietrick expects will side in its favor and throw out a lower court ruling that sided with Hogan.
“We’ve already taken this case up on the merits once to the appeals court on the preliminary injunction motion and we got a decision in our favor saying this is protected by the First Amendment, it’s a matter of public concern and we wrote properly about this topic,” she continued.
“That’s the merits of the case. Those are the same issues that we would be taking up at the very end.”
Gawker and Hogan will square off in court in March.