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Hulk Hogan Awarded Additional $25 Million in Punitive Damages in Gawker Lawsuit

A Florida jury awarded Hulk Hogan $25 million in punitive damages on Monday in his lawsuit against Gawker Media, in addition to the $115 million that he was awarded last week.

That $25 million includes $10 million from Gawker owner Nick Denton, along with $15 million from Gawker and $100,000 from former Gawker editor-in-chief A.J. Daulerio.

That brings the total in the lawsuit, which Hogan brought against Gawker for the 2012 release of his sex tape, to $140 million. The first $115 million were compensatory damages for Hogan — the $15 million punitive ruling, however, is meant to deter defendants and others from engaging in similar conduct in the future.

In the initial ruling, made on Friday, the jury found that Gawker violated Hogan’s privacy by posting the tape, and that he suffered severe emotional distress from the leak. The video, shot five years before it was posted, showed Hogan having sex with the then-wife of “shock jock” Bubba the Love Sponge.

Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, claimed that the video was recorded in secret. After being posted on Gawker, it was viewed 2.5 million times.

Gawker has indicated that it intends to appeal the massive damages.

“Soon after Hulk Hogan brought his original lawsuits in 2012, three state appeals court judges and a federal judge repeatedly ruled that Gawker’s post was newsworthy under the First Amendment,” Heather Dietrick, president & general counsel of Gawker Media, said in a statement shortly after the verdict was revealed. “We expect that to happen again — particularly because the jury was prohibited from knowing about these court rulings in favor of Gawker, prohibited from seeing critical evidence gathered by the FBI and prohibited from hearing from the most important witness, Bubba Clem.”

“There is so much this jury deserved to know and, fortunately, that the appeals court does indeed know,” the statement went on. “So we are confident we will win this case ultimately based on not only on the law but also on the truth.”

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