ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Former professional Wrestler Hulk Hogan has already been awarded a $115 million by a jury after suing Gawker Media. But there are more deliberations to come as a jury returns to court Monday to consider punitive damages.
Here's a look at the case and the players in it.
He was born Terry Bollea in Augusta, Georgia, in 1953 and is best known as one of the world's most famous professional wrestlers. He's also appeared in a number of television shows and movies, including his own reality TV show on VH1. His most notable movie appearance was playing Thunderlips, a character that went into the ring with Rocky Balboa in "Rocky III." That appearance led to Hulkamania. But it's a different appearance in front of the camera that has him in the news now.
A video of him having sex with his then-best friend's wife was leaked to Gawker Media, which posted the secret sex-tape on line. Hogan sued.
Gawker runs a series of websites and blogs covering topics like sports, entertainment, politics, video games and celebrity gossip. It was founded in 2002 by Nick Denton and operates eight unique sites. Gawker boasts it has 64 million monthly readers across all its sites. It describes its products as "inimitable delivery of news, scandal, and entertainment, the Gawker Media properties are heralded as everything from 'deliciously wicked' to 'the biggest blog in the world.'"
And this isn't the first time Gawker's been sued. Other suits have involved former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, filmmaker Quentin Tarantino and television psychologist Dr. Phil.
Gawker says the publication of a sex tape excerpt was a legitimate scoop because Hogan had talked openly about his sex life before in forums such as Howard Stern's radio show.
Pamela Ann Meacomes Campbell was appointed to the bench by Gov. Jeb Bush in 2006. Before that, she represented the parents of Terri Schiavo, a brain-damaged woman at the center of a right-to-die case. Schiavo's parents wanted her to remain alive and her husband sought a court order to remove her feeding tube. Bush fought hard on Schiavo's behalf and signed a bill written to keep her alive. His brother, President George W. Bush, did the same. But state and federal courts ruled in favor of Schiavo's husband. The feeding tube was removed and Schiavo died in 2005. Bush named Campbell to the bench the following year.
THE EX-BEST FRIEND
Bubba The Love Sponge Clem is a raunchy, Tampa-based syndicated radio shock jock. He took the video that's the center of the lawsuit, filming Hogan having sex with his wife. The couple has since divorced. Clem has said he's convinced Hogan didn't know he was taping the interlude. Hogan also sued Clem and settled for $5,000. His given name was Todd Clem before he legally changed it. He has publicly apologized to Hogan. Clem's website says his show is for "people who are interested in fast cars and bikes, hot women, captivating sports, compelling guests, and humorous, real-world political discourse of the 'Bubba' kind."
WHERE IT STANDS
A jury awarded Hogan $115 million. On Monday, it will return to court to determine punitive damages. But that won't be the end of the case. Gawker has already said it will appeal, and jury awards of this size are often reduced by appeals courts. There's a good bet the appeal will focus on documents recently unsealed documents that outline allegations, facts and conflicting testimony. Among them: assertions that Hogan filed the lawsuit to hide racist comments made on video, that the woman who Hogan had sex with knew it was being filmed, and that Hogan participated in an FBI investigation and sting because he was being extorted.