A Florida jury awarded Hulk Hogan another $25 million dollars in punitive damages on Monday, March 21, in his sex-tape lawsuit against Gawker Media, CEO Nick Denton and former editor A.J. Daulerio, Reuters reports.
The jury decided that Gawker will pay $15 million, Denton $10 million and Daulerio $100,000.
This is on top of the $115 million in compensatory damages the famed wrestler (né Terry Bollea) was awarded on Friday, March 18, after a two-week trial in St. Petersburg.
“We are extremely happy with the verdict, and Mr. Bollea feels vindicated,” Hogan’s legal team told Us Weekly in a statement Monday. “Our victory will also deter others from victimizing innocent people. This verdict now requires those organization to respect privacy and if not, pay the price for failing to do so.”
The 62-year-old former WWE superstar’s case began in 2012 when Gawker published a two-minute segment from a video of Hogan having sex with friend Bubba “The Love Sponge” Clem’s wife, Heather, in 2006. The wrestler claimed that the tape was made without his knowledge, and sought $100 million in damages.
Hogan’s legal team argued that he was the victim of invasion of privacy, illegal wiretapping, a violation of the right of publicity and inflicted emotional distress, according to a previous statement they had issued.
Gawker argued that publishing the clip in its story was newsworthy and should be protected by the First Amendment.
“$115 million is punishment enough,” Gawker attorney Mike Perry told jurors before they decided on the punitive damages, per The Hollywood Reporter. “The amount you have rendered in your verdict is already far beyond their means … that amount is debilitating.”
Denton told Us on Friday in a statement that he believes “key evidence and the most important witness were both improperly withheld from this jury.”
According to Reuters, Gawker plans to appeal the decision.
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