Unsealed Documents In Hogan-Gawker Case Add Fuel To Bubba The Love Sponge-Mike Calta Feud
Jury Awards Hogan $25 Million In Punitive Damages
March 21, 2016 at 2:49 PM (PT)
Documents were unsealed by the court FRIDAY (3/20) in HULK HOGAN's suit against GAWKER MEDIA, GAWKER founder NICK DENTON, and former GAWKER editor A.J. DAULERIO over the sex tape made public by the site, and BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE is focusing TODAY (3/21) on HOGAN's attorneys' letter to the case's judge, included in the unsealed documents, that used an allegation that a rival host and his agent were involved in getting the tape to GAWKER in an argument aimed at limiting GAWKER's list of potential deponents.
In a passage in the letter to Judge JAMES R. CASE on OCTOBER 15, 2014 and labeled "Highly Confidential- Attorneys' Eyes Only," the attorneys assert that the suit was not about who stole the tape from BUBBA and sent it to GAWKER, because "the issue is irrelevant, and already has been determined through document discovery. It is undisputed that GAWKER obtained a 30 minute sex tape from TONY BURTON of the BUCHWALD AGENCY in NEW YORK; edited the footage into a 1 minute and 41 second "highlight reel" ... and published it for six consecutive months at GAWKER.COM, where millions of people watched it. Documents provided by BURTON and the BUCHWALD AGENCY show that MIKE 'COWHEAD' CALTA (BUBBA CLEM's on-air competitor) was involved in sending the 30-minute tape to his agent BURTON, who then sent the tape to A.J. DAULERIO of GAWKER." The passage comes in an argument against GAWKER attorneys' list of potential deponents, which is characterized in the letter as "a sideshow designed to delay trial, run up costs, and misdirect the court's and parties' attention from the matters that are actually at issue in this litigation."
While the attorneys' letter, cited by BUBBA on the air TODAY, characterizes the CALTA/BURTON allegations as "undisputed," BURTON testified at the trial that he contacted GAWKER to get an address for a client who requested the address because someone wanted to ship something to them; he told AP at the time that he "never had the DVD, seen the DVD or provided GAWKER with anything," but had merely been asked for an address, which he obtained and provided.
CALTA and BUBBA worked together at COX MEDIA GROUP Talk WHPT (102.5 THE BONE)/TAMPA until BUBBA was fired in AUGUST 2014; CALTA took over BUBBA's morning slot and BUBBA signed to move his syndicated morning show across town to what is now BEASLEY Rock WBRN (NO RULES RADIO).
Among other notes in the unsealed documents, according to CNN, was an allegation that, contrary to statements in HOGAN's depositions, HOGAN's attorney DAVID HOUSTON told the FBI that he and HOGAN had watched all three DVDs and that they watched the part where HOGAN used racial slurs in referring to his daughter's boyfriend, which became a controversy when the NATIONAL ENQUIRER reported on it; the report in the unsealed documents said that HOUSTON said HOGAN watched the DVDs to find confirmation that BUBBA had told his wife HEATHER, the other party in the sex tapes, that they could sell the sex tape and make enough money to retire.
The unsealed documents also include a reference to BUBBA telling the FBI that HOGAN knew he was being taped, and text messages between HOGAN and BUBBA that show HOGAN worried about the racist comments, which GAWKER sought to use to challenge HOGAN's claim that he was concerned not about the sexual content of the videos, which he had contended, but over wanting to prevent the racial slurs from becoming public.
HOGAN was awarded $115 million in actual damages for emotional distress and economic harm in FRIDAY's verdict (NET NEWS 3/18). The jury in the case has tacked on $25 million in punitive damages, $15 million from GAWKER, $10 million from DENTON, and $100,000 from DAULERIO.