Denton also said he believes the high-profile trial is more about “publicity versus the free press” than privacy.
“He was joking about this tape,” Denton said of Hogan today on “Good Morning America.” “He didn’t like the story that we wrote. That’s his right."
“It’s the right of the jury not to like the story that we wrote, but it’s a free press and in this country people are allowed to write what they want and people are allowed to read what they want,” Denton said.
A Florida jury awarded Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, a whopping $115 million in compensatory damages, plus an added $25.1 million in punitive damages, for a total of $140.1 million.
All six jurors told ABC News in an interview that aired today on “GMA” that they believed Gawker broke the law. The jurors had particularly strong words for Denton, claiming he never showed any signs of remorse during the weeks-long trial.
When asked whether he had any remorse, Denton told “GMA,” “No, you know what, I don’t. We didn’t post the sex tape. We posted nine seconds of sexual activity in an excerpt of a much, much longer tape.”
“It was in the context of a story,” he said. “The story has been found newsworthy by a federal judge, the appeals court on repeated occasions. I believe it was newsworthy. Those judges agreed it was newsworthy and so it is a story we would do again.”
Hogan, 62, alleges he was secretly recorded in 2007 having sex with Heather Cole, at the time the wife of Hogan's then-best friend, radio shock jock Bubba “the Love Sponge” Clem.
Gawker’s plan to appeal the ruling rests in large part on the fact that the jury was prohibited from hearing from Clem as a witness.
“He was the one who actually received the text message from Hulk Hogan, a document that was actually unsealed by the appeals court on the final day of trial, which actually shows that Hulk Hogan’s motives in this case were entirely different from the ones that he actually was talking about,” Denton said of Clem.
“He said that Hogan knew that there were cameras in the house. He knew he was being taped. They were best friends,” Denton said, referring to an interview he says Clem gave to the FBI. “They knew everything about each other’s lives. I just don’t think it’s credible for Hulk Hogan to pretend that he had no idea of what was going on.”
A “damaging moment” in the trial for Gawker, according to Denton, came when the website's former editor-in-chief, A.J. Daulerio, was seen in a videotaped deposition telling Hogan’s lawyers that a celebrity sex tape would only not be newsworthy if it were a child younger than 4.
“It was a flip remark he made at the end of the day,” Denton said. “He was being harried by Hogan’s lawyers … They got to him and we paid a price.”
Replying to jurors’ claims that Gawker was focused solely on money, Denton said they did not make any profit off the Hogan sex tape.
“We never had any advertising running on this story,” Denton said. “[As a journalist], if you actually were feeling every single thing that a subject was feeling when a story came out, frankly, there would be no news."
"We do put the story first and I am unapologetic about that.”