Florida judge denies Gawker new trial in Hulk Hogan case

Reuters News
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Posted: May 25, 2016 2:29 PM

By Letitia Stein

TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) - A Florida judge on Wednesday rejected Gawker's request for a new trial and to reduce $140 million in damages assessed by a jury that found the media website had violated Hulk Hogan's privacy by posting a sex tape of the former wrestling star, his attorney said.

The New York-based media outlet, which previously has said it would continue its fight to an appeals court, did not immediately comment on the ruling.

An attorney for Hogan, whose legal name is Terry Bollea, praised the decision of Judge Pamela Campbell, who earlier this year presided over the jury trial in state civil court in St. Petersburg, Florida, near his home.

"Gawker has failed and continues to fail in recognizing their obligation to Bollea for their reprehensible behavior and method of doing what they call journalism," his attorney, David Houston, said in a statement.

In March, a six-person jury awarded $60 million to Hogan, 62, for emotional distress and $55 million for economic damages. The jury then slapped another $25 million in punitive damages on the company and its publisher and CEO, Nick Denton.

Hogan sued the website for posting a one-minute, 41-second edited video clip in 2012 featuring him having sex with the wife of his then-best friend, the radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem. He testified that he did not know that their consensual tryst was being recorded when it occurred nearly a decade ago inside Clem's home.

(Reporting by Letitia Stein; Editing by Bill Trott)