‘Emergency hearing’ called in the Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker battle

Terry Bollea, Hulk Hogan, David Houston
AP file photo
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) – The Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker battle is heating up before the trial even begins. Attorneys for Terry Bollea, AKA Hulk Hogan, filed an emergency order asking for case documents to remain sealed. It comes after someone leaked transcripts of a racist rant by Bollea about his daughter’s black boyfriend.The contents of the leaked transcript prompted the WWE to cut all ties with the former wrestler. Bollea’s attorneys accuse Gawker of releasing the confidential information in an attempt to “publicly destroy” him.

Gawker’s president and general counsel Heather Dietrick says that’s not true. “Hulk Hogan has only one person to blame for what he said, and no one from Gawker had any role in leaking that information,” Dietrick wrote in a statement to News Channel 8.

“It was disclosed that Mr. Bollea engaged in horribly racist rants on this tape. I understand that is damaging to a public figure. I get that, but that’s not on us,” Gawker attorney Seth Berlin said.

The records are related to a pending lawsuit in Pinellas County. Bollea is suing Gawker for $100 million for publishing a video of him having sex with the former wife of radio host Bubba the Love Sponge, born Todd Clem. The trial was set to start earlier this month but got delayed.

During the emergency hearing Bollea’s attorney told the judge that his client has a right to privacy and that leaks of sealed court documents have greatly damaged his reputation. “We assert our client has a right to privacy in very general terms and we have specific claims that arise from that. They assert that this tape was somehow newsworthy and a matter of legitimate public concern,” attorney Kenneth Turkel said.

Bollea’s defense team asked the judge to allow them to examine the computers of Gawker’s attorneys to find out who leaked the sealed transcript. “We want first, a forensic electronic to examine the computer network system, servers, tablets and smartphones of the defendants of this case,” Turkel said.

The judge did not immediately grant the request.

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