Gawker Media founder Nick Denton thinks a secret billionaire is conspiring with a Los Angeles litigator to run the company out of business by bankrolling legal cases.
“My own personal hunch is that it’s linked to Silicon Valley, but that’s nothing really more than a hunch,” Denton told The New York Times. “If you’re a billionaire and you don’t like the coverage of you, and you don’t particularly want to embroil yourself any further in a public scandal, it’s a pretty smart, rational thing to fund other legal cases.”
Gawker and Denton have already lost a defamation case over Gawker’s publication of a Hulk Hogan sex tape, which resulted in $140 million jury award to Hogan. The case has dragged on for several years, and the appeals process could take several more.
The Times reports that “speculation emerged within the legal community” that someone who is simply out to put an end to Gawker is bankrolling Hogan’s legal case.
Gawker has said it has already spent as much as $10 million on its side of the case, according to the Times. So imagine what L.A.-based litigator Charles J. Harder, who brought the majority of the anti-Gawker cases, including Hogan’s, is bringing in.
“I think in order for people to understand what’s going on here, what the stakes are, I think it’s important that it be out in public, or at least that he’d be asked the question in public,” Denton told the Times regarding Harder.
When the Times asked Harder about a third party bankrolling the cases against Gawker, he replied via email: “I do not discuss the finances of my clients, including any financial arrangements they have with my firm. This applies to all clients.”