Hulk Hogan was awarded $115 million in his invasion of privacy lawsuit against Gawker Media founder Nick Denton and former editor A.J. Daulerio in a Florida courtroom on Friday, March 18.
The 62-year-old wrestling icon won the years-long court case after the six person jury — four women and two men — deliberated for nearly six hours, CNN reported.
Hogan broke down in tears when the verdict was announced.
“We’re exceptionally happy with the verdict,” Hogan’s legal team told Us Weekly in a statement. “We think it represents a statement as to the public’s disgust with the invasion of privacy disguised as journalism. The verdict says no more.”
The retired pro wrestler’s case began back in 2012, when Gawker published a two-minute segment from a video of the famed wrestler having sex with his pal Bubba “the Love Sponge” Clem’s wife, Heather, in 2006. Hogan (née Terry Bollea) claimed that he had no idea the tape was being made and sought $100 million in damages from the media site.
Hogan’s attorney argued that he was the victim of invasion of privacy, illegal wiretapping, a violation of the right of publicity and inflicted emotional distress in the making of the video, according to a previous statement issued by the athlete’s team.
Gawker Media defended their right to publish a clip of the video, citing the First Amendment as grounds to expose celebrities who live in “a world where [they] can promote themselves around any topic, in this case sex, and then veto how the media covers their lives.”
On Friday, Denton told Us in a statement that he felt that “key evidence and the most important witness were both improperly withheld from this jury.”
“I want to thank our lawyers for their outstanding work and am confident that we would have prevailed at trial if we had been allowed to present the full case to the jury,” he continued. “That’s why we feel very positive about the appeal that we have already begun preparing, as we expect to win this case ultimately.”
A tweet that Hogan shared with fans on March 1 has begun to recirculate on the social media site.
“Time for the real main event! ‘I AM’ going to slam another Giant!” he wrote at the time. “Hogan vs Gawker! Watcha Gonna Do Gawker? Only Justice Brother HH.”
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