Transcript for Hulk Hogan Sues Gawker for Publishing Sex Tape
with hulk hogan's $100 million lawsuit over a tape that was posted online by the website Gawker. Hogan claims it's an invasion of privacy. Gawker argues he's fair game and it's news. It's the first celebrity sex tape case to go to trial and ABC's David Wright has that story. Reporter: In the red corner the mustachioed muscle man who bested the likes of Brutus beefcake, Roddy piper. Hulk hogan, undisputed master of the leg drop. Now taking on a very different adversary in court. Well, we're seeking monetary damages and a permanent injunction against the video. Reporter: In the blue corner Gawker media that dared to publish a secretly recorded sex tape of the 300-pound bruiser wrestling intimately with the then wife of a friend, a Florida deejay nicknamed bubba the love sponge, a post seen by 2.5 million people. So there was clear news interest in the topic. We break the story this is with his best friend's approval so there's that aspect of newsworthiness. Reporter: At issue whether it is news or gossip. No one is going to mistake hulk hogan's sex tape with the Pentagon papers. Reporter: Plenty of leaked sex tapes before but never before has the celeb been ready to risk more humiliation in open court. Hogan's argument even the brashest personality is entitled to some personality. If somebody is in a private place doing private things they have a right to do that and not be filmed without their knowledge and they have a right for that film not to be played to the world. Reporter: But Gawker insists the sex tape was news, protected by the first amendment. Months before Gawker ever published this was a giant story in the news. Reporter: Hogan had publicly denied the affair and had frequently boasted of his sexual prowess in books, on reality TV and on Howard Stern. If you scroll through my pictures, wow. Naked pictures. Who's in your phone that's naked? Who do you think? Reporter: The case headed for trial early next month. He's seeking $100 million in damages. If hogan wins it would definitely send a loud message to reporters to be careful. Reporter: Hulk hogan looking to put the leg drop on Gawker. For "Good morning America," David Wright, ABC news, new York. All right, David Wright, our thanks to you. Dan Abrams is here. You heard what hulk hogan's attorney said there. If somebody is in a private place doing private things they have a right not to be filmed if they have no knowledge of this. Gawker didn't take the film so that's not the legal question, though, here. As a legal matter, Gawker is a very strong argument and that is hulk hogan made his sex life news and then we covered his sex life. That's news too. The problem for Gawker may be that in front of a Florida jury, the question in their minds may end up being was it right or wrong to publish it. They may end up becoming media critics as opposed to evaluating this legally. That's the danger but this has worked its way up through the federal courts on separate questions and just about every time Gawker has ended up winning, certainly in the end Gawker has won as a legal matter and I think that as a legal matter they're going to end up winning again. But as you point out what Gawker has its on side he brought up his sex life before and put it out there. Right, under different facts, Gawker could be in trouble. If they had tried to sell the tape, for example as a legal matter, they'd be in trouble. If hulk hogan had not made his sex life such a big issue in the past, they could be in trouble legally. And that's going to be the challenge for their lawyers here. Is to try to keep the jurors focused on this question of was it newsworthy. The problem is when you hear the word newsworthy and term was it of public concern? People are going to say, public concern, how is it of public concern that hulk hogan was having sex with someone? Well, public concern is a legal matter. Doesn't mean the same thing that we think of it -- Judgment in your mind. That's right. It doesn't mean as a legal matter is it going to determine the future of the republic? Is it important? That's not the standard. The government doesn't get to decide what's important and what's newsworthy. And hulk hogan doesn't get to decide that. If he makes this an issue as he did and he's a celebrity as he is, then it's very tough to figure out legally how Gawker loses the case. Right. A lot of those jurors everyday people might be thinking of privacy. Privacy and right and wrong and that's the thing that the Gawker team is going to have to overcome. And the fact it's gotten this far. That's right. The fact that it's going to trial is a big deal.
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