Three weeks ago, we reported that Hulk Hogan had won a key battle in his ongoing legal war with Gawker over the publication of video excerpts from a secretly recorded sex tape with Heather Cole, the ex-wife of Bubba The Love Sponge. Namely, Judge Pamela Campbell, who is presiding over the case, approved a third party forensic investigation of Gawker's computers and a search of their offices to discover whether the company had illegally leaked transcripts of Hogan's sex tapes to the National Enquirer and RadarOnline.com, which led to his recent WWE firing.
According to David Bixenspan of SEScoops.com, Gawker is attempting to file a stay of proceedings to block this ruling while they prepare an appeal, arguing that there is little basis to allow such a far reaching investigation of the company's and their counsel's computers when the evidence against them is so flimsy, and in the process gave a compelling rationale for why they weren't behind the tabloid leak.
Their points included:
- A detailed timeline of what was contained in Hogan's sex tapes was circulating in New York and Tampa media circles as far back as March 2012.
- There were plenty of other parties who were well aware of Hogan's racist rant before it became public this July, including Bubba The Love Sponge, Heather Cole, Nik Richie of TheDirty.com, the source of an October 2012 gossip story in the Philadelphia Daily News that alluded to Hogan's use of racial slurs on one of the tapes, Keith Davidson (the lawyer who was investigated by the FBI for attempting to extort money from Hogan in return for the dirty videos), Davidson’s client, several federal investigators, and TMZ’s Mike Walters.
- That they themselves didn't have full transcripts of the sex tapes at the time of the leak, as the DVDs they received from the FBI was incomplete and heavily edited. Gawker claims that the material their lawyers had obtained did not include most of the quotes reported by the National Enquirer. In particular, they did not have the most damning lines where Hogan used racist language and homophobic slurs.
- That they never had proof of the racist comments "in large part because Bollea successfully thwarted Gawker’s efforts to obtain that proof or take any discovery about the contents of the timeline and transcripts." In an amusing side note, Hogan's lawyers actually claimed that the rumours of such offensive language could be due to an "extortionist manipulating the audio through an impersonator, or who knows what, and adding things", a few weeks before the National Enquirer story was published.
- They also noted that the National Enquirer and its reporters have always maintained that Gawker was not one of their five sources for the articles.
This may just be delaying the inevitable, although the appeals court has generally been a lot more favourable to Gawker's arguments than the trial judge has been so far, but it's certainly a sign that Gawker is still prepared to fight this case hardball to the bitter end.