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Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker trial begins, details emerge of settlement with Bubba The Love Sponge

Jury selection at the beginning of the Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker trial proved to be a surprisingly amusing process as potential jurors revealed their biases. Meanwhile, it has been reported that Hogan settled his related lawsuit with Bubba The Love Sponge in 2012 for a mere $5,000.

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It has been over three years since published excerpts of a secretly taped video of Hulk Hogan having sex with Heather Cole, the wife of Bubba The Love Sponge, and The Hulkster responded by quickly filing a $100 million lawsuit against the gossip website and his former friends for the "illegal" publication of those X-rated clips.

The cases against Bubba The Love Sponge and his ex-wife Heather Cole were quickly settled, but the financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed at the time. In Bubba's case, that was until now. According to the website, Hogan dismissed his claims against Bubba without prejudice (meaning he could refile them at a later date if he wanted) for the paltry sum of $5,000 in return for Bubba's cooperation in his ongoing legal battle with Gawker:

"A review of the transcripts from a pre-trial hearing in the case obtained by LawNewz reveals that Hogan agreed to dismiss his claims against Clem — the man responsible for creating the now infamous tape — in exchange for only $5000.00 (yes, that is just five-thousand dollars), a public apology and a promise to no longer disparage Hogan and to cooperate with Hogan in his lawsuit against Gawker.

The issues surrounding the settlement agreement were raised at the pre-trial hearing by attorneys for Gawker who argued that the jury should be made aware of the existence of the agreement. Hogan’s attorneys argued that terms of the settlement agreement were confidential and that what had been already been stated in court came close to violating that confidentiality agreement.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge said that at least for now, the settlement could not be mentioned to the jury during the trial."

Although Judge Pamela Campbell denied the motion one can certainly understand why Gawker would be uneasy over the forgiving terms of Hogan's settlement with Bubba. As David Bixenspan suggested, such a sweetheart deal might encourage Bubba to change his story when he testifies in the trial itself from the original testimony he gave when he was deposed at the beginning of the case.

Speaking of the trial, it started yesterday and continued today with jury selection, which has been a surprisingly amusing process as many potential jurors had to be excused for clearly demonstrating they wouldn't be fair and impartial jurors for the case. Here, are the highlights of the first two days of legal proceedings courtesy of Anna Phillips of the Tampa Bay Times and Tom Kludt of CNN:

This reads like an embarrassing day for Hulk Hogan to sit through, but he can be thankful the potential jurors most critical of his behaviour were all sent home. The trial should start to pick up steam next week, once all the formalities are out of the way and the opening arguments have been made. We at Cageside Seats will be giving regular updates on the trial over the next few weeks, as this will be one of the biggest mainstream wrestling stories of the year.

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