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Jury awards Hulk Hogan $115 million in Gawker sex-tape suit

A jury on Friday sided with ex-pro wrestler Hulk Hogan and awarded him $115 million in his sex tape lawsuit against Gawker Media.
Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, sits in court during his trial against Gawker Media, in St Petersburg, Fla., March 17, 2016. (Photo by Dirk Shadd/Tampa Bay Times/Pool/Reuters)
Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, sits in court during his trial against Gawker Media, in St Petersburg, Fla., March 17, 2016.

A jury on Friday awarded Hulk Hogan $115 million in his lawsuit against Gawker Media, agreeing the company violated his privacy by posting a sex tape of the ex-pro wrestler online.

The two-week trial culminated with jurors deliberating for six hours. Hogan hugged his attorney as court adjourned.

RELATED: Hulk Hogan takes on Gawker in Florida sex tape trial

Hogan, 62, who used his legal name of Terry Bollea during the civil trial in St. Petersburg, was seeking $100 million in damages after Gawker published the edited sex clip in 2012.

Founder and chief executive of Gawker Media Nick Denton said in a statement following the verdict that "key evidence and the most important witness" were withheld from the jury, and Gawker planned to appeal the decision. "We feel very positive about the appeal that we have already begun preparing, as we expect to win this case ultimately," he said.

Hogan's attorney Kenneth Turkel said the lawsuit wouldn't have been filed had Gawker taken down the video when they were asked to. ""In its core this case has never, ever, ever been about anything more that Gawker took a secretly recorded sex tape of my client in a private bedroom performing a private act and put it on the internet," Turkel said, according to NBC affiliate WFLA.

Hogan testified last week that he is "not the same person I was before all this craziness happened."

"My problem is this whole videotape that you guys put out that lives forever," Hogan said under cross-examination. "It will be there forever on the Internet."

The video, which Hogan said was made without his knowledge was of Hogan having sex with the wife of his then best friend, radio "shock jock" Bubba the Love Sponge.

He said it occurred at a personal low point as he went through a divorce. The video was posted five years after it was recorded.

Gawker's lawyers contended Hogan made his sex life a public matter, citing interviews and playing clips from his reality TV show.

Hogan said he considers himself to have artistic liberty as an entertainer when appearing as Hogan.

Gawker also argued that its post is protected speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

It is unclear why the 6-person jury awarded Hogan $15 million more than he sought. 

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