Judge denies new trial for Gawker in Hulk Hogan case

The Associated Press reports a judge has denied a request by Gawker to hold a new trial in the lawsuit filed by Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan:

A Florida judge on Wednesday denied Gawker’s motion for a new trial in the Hulk Hogan sex-video case and won’t reduce a $140 million jury verdict.

Judge Pamela Campbell’s ruling is the latest development in a yearslong legal fight between Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, and the gossip website.

In March a jury awarded Bollea $140 million in damages. Bollea sued Gawker over the publication of a 2007 sex tape in which he was seen having consensual sex with a friend’s wife.

The current refusal to grant Gawker a new trial was expected according to CNN reporter Tom Kludt who has been covering the case. Yesterday Kludt reported on the move and Gawker’s expectation that, even if this latest request failed, the company would eventually succeed on appeal:

If Campbell is not sympathetic to Gawker’s arguments on Wednesday, Gawker is confident that it will emerge victorious when the case reaches Florida’s Second District Court of Appeals.

“The notion that Hulk Hogan is owed $140 million for snippets from a sex tape made by his best friend — after he’s made his sex life an open book — is patently absurd to everyone other than his lawyers who want a pay day,” Gawker said in a statement on Tuesday. “As we’ve said all along, we expect the appeals court will rule in our favor.”

Earlier this month, Bollea filed a second lawsuit against Gawker claiming they had leaked a transcript in which he used racist language to refer to his daughter’s boyfriend, who is black.

On Tuesday, Gawker’s founder Nick Denton told the NY Times he suspects the Bollea lawsuits and a couple other suits against Gawker being handled by the same attorney may be being funded by a single, wealthy source looking to damage Gawker:

“The answer may be entirely innocent,” Mr. Denton said, musing on the question of whether Mr. Harder was paid by someone other than Mr. Hogan, “but 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.”

Based on my conversation with Mr. Denton as well some independent lawyers who first raised questions about the financing of Mr. Hogan’s suit, I approached Mr. Harder and asked him the question directly. In an email, he said, “I do not discuss the finances of my clients, including any financial arrangements they have with my firm. This applies to all clients.”

In a tweet, CNN’s Tom Kludt revealed the name at the center of the rumors: