Gawker asked the judge today to dismiss the $100 million lawsuit against them if Bubba “The Love Sponge” is not allowed to testify.
Bubba has claimed that if he is asked to testify, he will plead the 5th as to not incriminate himself. He is the one who secretly recorded Hogan and his ex-wife Heather Clem having sex but the two sides settled out of court for $5,000. The judge ruled that Bubba doesn’t have to testify in front of the jury and then Gawker’s legal team suggested to question him in front of a video camera and then play it in front of the jury. The judge agreed to Gawker’s request.
The defense today called AJ Daulerio as its first witness, the man who wrote the sex tape post which landed Gawker here today. Daulerio is no longer working for Gawker and said that his departure from the company had nothing to do with the Hulk Hogan post. Daulerio described Hogan as “one of the best professional wrestlers of all-time,” and said he was “amused” by the video tape when he received it. He said he grew up watching Hogan – although he was a Piper fan – and it was not a situation he ever expected to see Hogan in.
Gawker’s attorneys then hammered the fact that out of the 1 minute 41 second clip posted by Daulerio, only 9 seconds of that involved actual sex. Daulerio said the post didn’t focus on the sex because if it was he would have a different edit of it but just wanted to confirm to everyone that the two were indeed having a sexual encounter. Daulerio also said that he met with the Gawker’s business department to remove ads from the post, something that Gawker’s attorney pointed out several times saying that they did not make money off the post.
Daulerio admitted that he did not speak with Gawker’s owner Nick Denton before publishing the post and said that – to no surprise – Hogan’s post was “extremely popular,” especially after Hogan went on his media tour to talk about it. He said he received a $2,000 bonus that month for his good work.
Also taking the witness stand today was Emma Carmichael, current editor-in-chief of Jezebel. Carmichael was in charge of copy editing the post and assisted the video editing department to create the clip. She’s currently on the stand at time of this writing.