Clearly, the relationship between Hulk Hogan and Gawker founder Nick Denton is not getting 20 percent nicer.
Embattled wrestling legend Hogan — who’s suing Gawker for $100 million over the publication of a sex tape in which he appears — filed court papers on Wednesday saying that circumstances “strongly suggest” Gawker leaked audio from the sex tape of Hogan using the N-word.
And if he can prove that they did, Hogan wants Denton and anyone else involved punished to the fullest extent, including jail time.
Hogan — real name: Terry Bollea — is asking for an independent forensics expert to examine “the computer network, systems, servers, tablets and smart phones” of Denton and Gawker to determine if they leaked the audio to the National Enquirer or Radar Online.
“Moreover upon a finding that Gawker or its counsel were the source of the sealed discovery leaked to the National Enquirer and Radar Online, Mr. Bollea will request that the Court sanction and impose the maximum possible civil and criminal penalties against Gawker Defendants, including any of their agents or attorneys responsible for violating this Court’s orders. Such penalties should include, without limitation as is appropriate, incarceration, the striking of Gawker Defendants’ pleadings, the entry of a judgment as to liability against Gawker Defendants” and other relief.
The WWE severed ties with Hogan after the revelation that he had used the racial slur.
The filing on Wednesday also cites Gawker’s own scandal surrounding the publication of a story that purportedly outed a corporate executive as gay, contending that the leak of Hogan’s slur served as a smokescreen for Gawker’s own woes.
“The release of this sealed discovery, successfully diverting press attention away from Gawker’s public and internal freefall, caused severe damage to Mr. Bollea.”
Gawker denied responsibility for the leak in a statement, saying, “Hulk Hogan has only one person to blame for what he said and no one from Gawker had any role in leaking that information.”
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.