Hulk Hogan got another victory in court this week, as a judge in Florida denied a motion by Gawker for a new trial and to have the verdict dropped or reduced. According to The New York Times, Gawker argued that documents that were sealed during the trial should have been made available to the jury, which included Hulk Hogan's racist comments. They also stated that the objectivity of the jurors had been tainted, and that no other Florida defendant had ever been awarded such a large amount in similar cases.
As noted, it was revealed that Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, secretly bankrolled Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker and paid approximately $10 million for the suit. A lawyer for Gawker argued that Thiel was new discovery material, but the judge refused to look at articles regarding Thiel's involvement.
Thiel, a pledged delegate for Donald Trump for the 2016 Republican National Convention, has held animosity towards Gawker ever since the website outed him as gay in 2007 in this article titled, Peter Thiel is totally gay, people.
"It's less about revenge and more about specific deterrence," Thiel told The New York Times this week, after it was revealed that he was funding Hogan's case. "I saw Gawker pioneer a unique and incredibly damaging way of getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest."
Thiel added that "even someone like Terry Bollea who is a millionaire and famous and a successful person didn't quite have the resources to do this alone."
Gawker CEO Nick Denton penned an open letter to Thiel on Gawker. In the letter, Denton asked if Thiel and / or his representatives paid Hogan personally in addition to backing his case. He also noted that Thiel's "revenge has been served well, cold and (until now) anonymously."
"You [Thiel] admit you have been planning the punishment of Gawker and its writers for years, and that you have so far spent $10 million to fund litigation against the company," Denton wrote. "Charles Harder, the Hollywood plaintiff's lawyer who has marshaled your legal campaign, is representing not just the wrestler Hulk Hogan on your behalf, but two other subjects of stories in suits against Gawker and its editorial staff."
Gawker plans to appeal the original verdict.