Despite all of the publicity and intrigue involved in the Hulk Hogan sex tape scandal, what is perhaps the juiciest part of the whole affair is still yet to come. In fact, the $100 million civil suit Hogan filed against website Gawker.com doesn't even go to trial for another six months. And while the road to the courthouse smackdown has featured plenty of "OMG!" moments, the trial itself is already shaping up to be the scene of further embarrassment for Hogan and his associates.
Quoting documents obtained by Radar Online, the website Expose reports that the judge in Hogan's pending case recently ruled that the original sex tape published by Gawker will be played during the March, 2016, proceedings. While millions of folks have already viewed the risqué video via the internet, this showing of Hogan's romp with his former BFF's wife will be confined to a relatively small audience as per the judge's instructions.
''When the video is played for the jury at trial, the monitors shall be turned in such a way so that only the jury, the parties, their trial counsel, and court personnel may see the video," said Florida Circuit Judge Pamela Campbell in her written decision on the matter. ''The public and press shall not be excluded from the courtroom when the video is played, and the pooled camera shall not be turned off during such time.''
As previously noted by Inquisitr, Gawker posted the now infamous Hulk Hogan sex tape online back in 2012. The video revealed a 2006 carnal liaison between Hogan and Heather Clem, the former wife of Hogan's longtime friend, radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge. Although some speculated that the video was a publicity stunt formulated by Hogan and Bubba, an investigation was eventually launched into the matter. At one point, even the FBI became involved over allegations of illegal surveillance and a blackmail scheme.
While the initial release of the tape was a humiliation in and of itself, the pop culture icon's public persona has suffered immeasurable damage over the course of recent months stemming from matters related to the Hulk Hogan sex tape. In July, Radar Online and National Enquirer published excerpts from the unedited footage that included a racist rant by Hulk Hogan. Although Hogan issued multiple apologies, WWE terminated a presumably lucrative contract with Hogan, and the longstanding association between the Hulkster and the sports entertainment monolith shows no concrete signs of reconciliation for the near future.
For his part, Hulk Hogan is still optimistic that things will ultimately go his way when he squares off with Gawker for their final showdown. In fact, his team marked a major victory late last week when Judge Campbell also decided that the Hogan camp will be allowed to forensically search Gawker's computer systems, as reported by Fox News. She also ruled that certain key documents in the matter will remain under seal, granting the embattled Hogan a rare modicum of privacy. Gawker's legal counsel expressed frustration with the court over the decision.
"Given the obvious public interest in this case, it is truly unfortunate that a large number of records remain hidden, and that the public is prevented from seeing both sides' arguments and the basis for many of the court's most significant rulings," said Gawker attorney Mike Berry, via statement. "The public should be able to know what happens in its court system."
For the time being, Hulk Hogan is trying to resurrect his image through limited public appearances. He spoke on Good Morning America in late August. In September, Hogan scheduled a meet-and-greet in England. Fans who are willing to pay $350 per person will be able to personally chat with Hogan and pose with him for photos.
Pro wrestling is, of course, plagued with salacious scandals and sad stories. Not only has the industry been plagued with decades of untimely and premature deaths of some of its biggest stars, even darker tales have emerged of abuse and murder. Indeed, the Chris Benoit murder-suicide and Jimmy Snuka's recent indictment for murder make the Hulk Hogan sex tape scandal appear relatively tame by comparison.
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