There is no end in sight for the legal maneuvering and spin-doctoring in Hulk Hogan’s sex video lawsuit against Gawker Media—in which a St. Petersburg, Fla., jury awarded the celebrity wrestler $140.1 million in damages last month.
The billable hours continued to mount on Wednesday with the release of previously sealed defense filings dating back to December and claiming that Terry Bollea (Hogan’s real name) perpetrated a fraud on the trial court by lying about his real reason for suing Gawker—namely, to prevent ugly racist remarks he made on a different sex video from becoming public and harming his career.
Bollea’s attorney, David Houston, scoffed at Gawker’s latest move: “Gawker is now releasing motions that were denied back in December. One has to wonder what their true motive may be because it isn’t relevant for any legitimate purpose.”
Team Gawker trumpeted the released court papers in advance of a May 25 hearing to determine whether the media company must post a $50 million bond pending the outcome of an appeal.
"The court documents finally unsealed today prove that Hulk Hogan’s actual concern was not the supposed privacy of his sex life, but the contents of another sex tape—one that Gawker never had—that recorded him making repeated racist statements about his daughter’s boyfriend,” Gawker Media said in a statement. “The court papers show how Hogan engaged in a massive cover up, denying under oath that he knew about the tape with his racist rant despite clear evidence proving he did. Hogan also denied knowing about an FBI investigation he requested and claimed his representatives had never seen the tape with the racist remarks, even though FBI evidence includes them watching the tape.”
The Gawker statement continued: “The jury should have known about this cover up…But the judge decided to keep all of that secret. As this trial proved, it’s easy to win a case when the jury is only told a fraction of the story.”
Team Gawker’s 32-page motion to dismiss Bollea’s invasion of privacy lawsuit—originally filed last December, and subsequently denied, kept from the jury and sealed from the public until now by Pinellas County Circuit Court Judge Pamela A.M. Campbell—argues that Bollea and his legal team “engaged in a systematic effort to hide from Gawker and this Court the existence of additional tapes of his encounters with Heather Clem [the then-wife of Bollea’s friend, radio shock jock Bubba Clem], including one that shows him making a series of racist and homophobic statements.”