In Court

Hulk Hogan-Gawker jury awards $25M in punitive damages

Trial pits right to privacy against celebrity news


A Florida jury awarded a total of $25 million in punitive damages on Monday in the Hulk Hogan sex tape trial, hitting Gawker Media with a $15 million judgment and its owner, Nick Denton, with $10 million.

Jurors also assessed $100,000 against A.J. Daulerio, the Gawker editor who decided to post the edited sex video and wrote the post that accompanied it.

The punitive damages are in addition to the $115 million the jury imposed Friday after two weeks of trial.

Hogan originally sued Gawker after it posted a video of him having sex with his then-best friend's wife. Hogan said he didn't know he was being taped.

Hogan's lawyer had asked jurors Monday to add punitive damages to the $115 million judgment. Gawker's lawyer pleaded that the existing verdict was already "debilitating" for the company.

During brief closing arguments Monday, Hogan's lawyer Kenneth Turkel said Gawker Media's gross revenues in 2015 were $48.7 million and that founder Nick Denton has a total of $121 million, including a $3.6 million Manhattan condo. Gawker Media is worth $83 million, the lawyers said.

Daulerio, the editor, has no assets, the lawyers said. They said Daulerio has $27,000 in student loan debt.

Turkel had asked the jury to decide on a punitive amount as both punishment to Gawker and a deterrent to other media companies.

Jurors have "an ability to send a message," Turkel said, adding that Gawker acted with reckless disregard when it posted an edited version of the sex video.

The former pro wrestler told a gaggle of reporters outside the courthouse Monday that he and his legal team "made history"

Hogan said he thought "we've protected a lot of people from going through what I went through."

The smiling 62-year-old, who wore all black throughout the three week trial, added that he's been overwhelmed with support by fans.

"Everywhere I show up people treat me like I'm still the champ," he said.

Hogan's lawyer David Houston told Fox News his legal team was "escatic" with the verdict.

"It sends a clear message to those who would invade the privacy of another. If you do so, you do so at your peril," he said. "This was never a First Amendment case and quite honestly it was an assault on the First Amendment to suggest so."


Michael Sullivan, representing Gawker, said, "The $115 million judgment "is punishment enough" and "is already far beyond their means."

"The amount of that verdict could already be debilitating for Gawker Media," Sullivan said.

"Your verdict will send a chill down the spine of writers, producers, and publishers," he added.

President and General Counsel for Gawker Heather Dietrick told Fox News in a statement the media group is "confident" it will win this case in an appeal.

"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," Deitrick said. "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," Deitrick said.

One juror, 35-year-old Salina Stevens, told reporters that watching the video posted by Gawker finally convinced her to find for Hogan.

"I believe his privacy was violated and that's not OK," she said.'s Diana Falzone and the Associated Press contributed to this report.