ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Jurors will likely hear closing arguments Friday in ex-pro wrestler Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker Media over a sex video, a Florida judge said.
Judge Pamela Campbell sent the jurors home for the day Thursday while lawyers for Hogan, Gawker and media companies discuss evidence issues.
Lawyers for Gawker showed Hogan a promo video of him wearing T-back underwear and parodying the Miley Cyrus “Wrecking Ball” video.
They also played a video of a Hulk Hogan deposition in which Hogan discussed his wrestling persona, his true identity, branding and celebrity. They also asked him if he tried to “shape” any of the media interviews he did in the days after the sex video was posted, by asking media outlets to not discuss the video.
“I don’t recall,” Hogan said.
Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, is suing Gawker for $100 million for posting the video, contending it violated his privacy. It depicted the former wrestler having sex with the wife of his then-best friend, radio host Bubba The Love Sponge Clem. Both Hogan and the woman said they didn’t know they were being filmed.
Clem exercised his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and won’t testify.
Gawker posted a story and a one-minute, 41-second edited version of the 30-minute video, saying it was newsworthy. Gawker’s editorial process has been an issue in the trial and jurors will grapple with themes of celebrities, privacy and media ethics.
But the timing of closing arguments and jury deliberations could depend on another development in the case.
On Wednesday, a Florida appellate court ordered that a number of sealed records be released in the case and Hogan’s lawyers have filed motions to keep them sealed. Attorneys for media companies, including The Associated Press, are filing counter motions to make the records public.
Campbell in 2015 ordered the records sealed. It’s unclear which records will be unsealed.
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