Thursday, December 14, 2017
News Roundup

Hulk Hogan files two lawsuits in sex tape scandal

TAMPA — Attorneys for wrestling star Terry "Hulk Hogan" Bollea filed two lawsuits Monday seeking damages against his onetime best friend, Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, and Gawker Media over a tape of Hogan having sex with Clem's former wife.

The ex-wife, Heather Clem, also is named as a defendant.

The video has sparked more than a week's worth of media interviews and gossip website coverage, with Gawker posting clips from the video, TMZ.com reporting comments made by Clem at the video's end indicating he knew the video was recording and Radar Online quoting an unnamed source who said a disgruntled employee of Clem's leaked the video.

A silent and grim-looking Hogan appeared with his attorneys at a late-afternoon news conference at the steps of the federal courthouse in Tampa.

"I'm hopeful today (the lawsuits) send the message very clearly to any other entities out there that may be considering posting all or part of this video, or for that matter any other material that would violate my client's rights, if you do so we have plenty of room on the front page of this complaint to add your name," said David Houston, Hogan's personal counsel.

The attorneys said they also may pursue state or federal charges against those involved if the secret taping violated the law.

"Mr. Hogan had a reasonable expectation of his privacy just as all Americans have a reasonable expectation of their privacy in their bedrooms," said attorney Charles Harder. "The actions of the defendants was illegal, it was outrageous and it exceeded the bounds of human decency."

Hogan's state court lawsuit, which seeks damages in excess of $15,000, names Clem and his ex-wife as defendants. The federal lawsuit, which seeks $100 million in damages, was filed against Gawker.

Hogan, dressed in a black t-shirt, jeans and reflective sunglasses, walked to a black limo and departed, declining to speak with reporters.

"Bubba's the victim here," said Stephen Diaco, an attorney and longtime friend of Clem's who often acts as his counsel. Diaco, who noted Clem can't speak on the issue due to provisions in his divorce settlement, added, "I don't know how you sue a victim."

Gawker officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Hogan's appearance on several national media outlets to discuss the tape, including CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight and shock jock Howard Stern's show, has led some critics to wonder if this is a high-profile publicity stunt.

Times Staff Writer Eric Deggans contributed to this report. William R. Levesque can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3432.

Comments
NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Carson Wentz's injury drops Eagles out of top five

NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Carson Wentz's injury drops Eagles out of top five

What follows below is a ranking of all 32 NFL teams. To build this list, we consulted five objective measures of team strength: Pro Football Reference’s Simple Rating System, Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average ratings...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Local widowers say baby powder caused their wives’ cancer

Local widowers say baby powder caused their wives’ cancer

Two Tampa area widowers whose wives died of ovarian cancer are suing Johnson & Johnson, joining nearly 5,000 other plaintiffs across the country who blame their illness on the daily use of the pharmaceutical company’s talcum powder.Bryan Isa’s wife, ...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Pinellas judge: U.S. Army major found incompetent to stand trial can leave Florida

Pinellas judge: U.S. Army major found incompetent to stand trial can leave Florida

LARGO — A Pinellas circuit judge ruled this week that Roman Izzo, a U.S. Army major charged with murder but found incompetent to stand trial after he was injured in a motorcycle crash, can move to Kansas with his family.Izzo was released on $1.5 mill...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lawsuit attempts to end conversion therapy ban in Tampa

Lawsuit attempts to end conversion therapy ban in Tampa

TAMPA — A conservative advocacy group is asking a federal court to overturn Tampa’s ban on conversion therapy for minors.The City Council approved an ordinance in March that bars the controversial practice, which tries to change a person’s sexual ori...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Jabil’s fiscal results top Wall Street expectations

Jabil’s fiscal results top Wall Street expectations

ST. PETERSBURG — Jabil Circuit Inc. beat Wall Street expectations for both profits and revenue Thursday.The St. Petersburg-based contract electronics manufacturer — one of Tampa Bay’s biggest public companies — posted fiscal first-quarter earnings of...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Deputies: Fleeing suspect shoots, injures dog as he runs through yards

DOVER — While fleeing from deputies, a man shot a dog inside a fenced yard Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies said they were attempting to pull over a vehicle that might have been stolen near Milagro Court and Bl...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Amtrak train strikes, kills 60-year-old woman in Lakeland

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of a 60-year-old woman who was hit by an Amtrak train on Thursday.The woman was struck at 12:30 p.m. in the railroad intersection of Highway 92 East and Fairway Avenue in Lakeland, deputies ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Palm Harbor woman, 23, killed while crossing Seminole Boulevard

SEMINOLE — A 23-year-old Palm Harbor woman was fatally injured when she was struck by a sport-utility vehicle while crossing Seminole Boulevard on Wednesday night, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.The incident took place at about 8:4...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Dade City man turns himself in on warrants for Polk armed robbery

Dade City man turns himself in on warrants for Polk armed robbery

DADE CITY — A 25-year-old man wanted in connection with the attempted robbery of a taxi driver in Lakeland turned himself in late Wednesday night after being prompted by his mother, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Edner Dely, was wante...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

For once, it would be nice to see Sen. Marco Rubio stand up as the independent leader he aspires to become. For once, the Florida Republican should hold his position rather than bow to pragmatic politics. Rubio can stick with his threat Thursday to v...
Updated: 1 hour ago