Thursday, April 26, 2018
News Roundup

Hulk Hogan trial against Gawker set for next week

ST. PETERSBURG — Don't call him Mr. Hogan. Mr. Hulkster is off limits, too.

When former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan goes to trial here next week against Gawker, the New York-based news website, he will be called by his real name, Terry Gene Bollea. That order came from a Pinellas judge on Monday at the request of Bollea's attorneys, who are representing him in his effort to win $100 million in damages from Gawker for publishing an excerpt of his sex tape in 2012.

But that should not stand in the way of jurors knowing who he is.

Aside from his trademark mustache and white shoulder-length hair, Bollea will be allowed to wear part of his Hulk Hogan costume to court. Circuit Judge Pamela Campbell said on Monday that she will permit him one "plain bandana," presumably ruling out the varieties for sale at his Clearwater Beach gift shop, emblazoned with the words "Hulkamania" and "Hulk Still Rules."

There's no word yet on whether he will have to wear sleeves in the courtroom.

Campbell cautioned both sides that she expects civility once the trial begins.

"This is not going to be a carnival," she said several times. "There will be judicial serenity and calm, to which the parties are entitled."

Bollea's case against Gawker has been winding its way through the courts here for more than two years, and a two-week trial has been scheduled to begin in St. Petersburg next Monday. At its core, it's a case about whether Gawker's decision to publish one minute and 41 seconds of a roughly 30-minute sex tape violated Bollea's right to privacy.

His attorneys maintain that the video, which shows him having sex with Heather Cole — at the time, the wife of his best friend, radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem — was made without his knowledge. The video's content is not and was not newsworthy when Gawker published it, they argue.

To prevent more people from seeing the tape, Bollea's attorneys have asked the judge not to show it to reporters and members of the public during his trial. Several media organizations, including the Tampa Bay Times, have opposed the request.

Gawker's legal team says that Bollea, in his celebrity persona of Hulk Hogan, has talked openly and in graphic detail about his sex life for years, thereby making it a matter of public concern. His avenues for this material have included his two memoirs, appearances on the Howard Stern show, and multiple Bubba the Love Sponge radio broadcasts.

In addition to Gawker, Bollea also named Bubba Clem and Heather Cole in his lawsuit, claiming they were in on making the recording. A few weeks after he filed suit, Bollea settled with Clem. And though his case against Cole remains open, his attorneys suggested on Monday that they were likely to resolve it as well, leaving Gawker as his sole target.

In the midst of trial preparations, Gawker's attorneys have been dealing with a separate issue: the FBI's reluctance to hand over information the attorneys say is essential to their case. The nearly 1,200 documents and three DVDs at issue came out of an investigation the FBI opened into an extortion attempt Bollea said was being made against him. The investigation ended with no charges filed, but the FBI has repeatedly denied Gawker's Freedom of Information requests, culminating in the news site taking the agency to court.

Despite a federal judge's order last week that the FBI turn over much of its evidence, the bureau produced only 24 pages.

On Monday, it gave redacted versions of the DVDs to Campbell for her review. According to court documents, the discs contain as many as three videos of Bollea having sex with Cole. In each, it's possible to hear a "third party" speaking off camera.

Gawker's attorneys argued that without information from the FBI investigation, they could not go to trial, but Campbell denied their motion for a delay.

"We have a situation where Mr. Bollea, who's the plaintiff, has basically been asked: 'Are there other recordings here?' He said no. And we now know the answer is not no," said Gawker attorney Seth Berlin. "This is key evidence."

   
Comments
Donít call it a comeback: Jonny Venters return to majors with Rays much more than that

Donít call it a comeback: Jonny Venters return to majors with Rays much more than that

BALTIMORE — First, think of what you were doing on Oct. 5, 2012, and how much has happened in your own world since then.That will give you a time frame.Next, think of the challenge of rehabbing from two Tommy John surgeries and a third procedur...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lightning to face Bruins in East semifinals

Lightning to face Bruins in East semifinals

The Bruins beat the Maple Leafs 7-4 in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series Wednesday night and will face the Lightning in the Eastern Conference semifinals beginning Saturday at Amalie Arena.Here is the semifinal schedule:Saturday: at Tampa, 3...
Updated: 4 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 25

Wednesdayís scoreboardBaseballCanterbury 5, Shorecrest 4SoftballClass 6A, District 6 Semifinal: Springstead 10, Citrus 0
Updated: 4 hours ago
Bucs draft scenarios: Would this guy be their lucky pick at No. 7?

Bucs draft scenarios: Would this guy be their lucky pick at No. 7?

TAMPA – This is the Rubiks Cube of NFL drafts. It can be twisted and turned it in any direction. Not many know how everything will line up.For the Bucs, the puzzle is simple.  Since they have the No. 7 overall pick, they need four quarterb...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Softball: Boca Ciega edges Tarpon Springs for 6A-9 title

Softball: Boca Ciega edges Tarpon Springs for 6A-9 title

DUNEDIN — It's hard to believe that we'll see a more emotional, more exciting game than this one throughout the rest of the postseason.Top seed Tarpon Springs and No. 2 Boca Ciega were fearless with the Class 6A-9 title on the line Wednesd...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Rays Journal: A win over ex-mate Cobb, and in a record way

BALTIMORE – The Rays knew there would be all kinds of mixed feeling seeing longtime former teammate Alex Cobb pitching against them in Orioles orange.And they made sure he didn't enjoy it.The Rays knocked Cobb out in the fifth inning, and rolle...
Updated: 5 hours ago
VA nominee considers withdrawing as new allegations emerge of drinking, wrecking government vehicle

VA nominee considers withdrawing as new allegations emerge of drinking, wrecking government vehicle

WASHINGTON ó White House physician Ronny Jackson has grown frustrated with the nomination process to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs and has told colleagues he may remove his name from consideration, two White House officials with knowledge o...
Updated: 6 hours ago
A religious group has settled in a big pink house in Clearwater. Neighbors arenít happy.

A religious group has settled in a big pink house in Clearwater. Neighbors arenít happy.

CLEARWATER ó The first thing John Trevena noticed about his new neighbors was the color of their house: Pepto-Bismol pink.It didnít worry Trevena, a criminal defense lawyer who moved into the three-bedroom rental home next door in 2015."I knew it was...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Pasco corporal who took down student on video now cleared (w/video)

Pasco corporal who took down student on video now cleared (w/video)

LAND OíLAKES ó Kayla PeŮa filled up her water bottle then returned to her lunch table at Sunlake High School when she heard a commotion in the cafeteria on Tuesday afternoon.A female student was riled up, walking back and forth, PeŮa said, screaming ...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Updated: 8 hours ago