Originally published at Death and Taxes, ed. Brian Abrams, 17 March 2016.
Grateful thanks to the Internet Archive for preserving this work.
Day nine of the Hulk Hogan/Gawker Trial Circus ‘n’ Jamboree finds us not in court, but hanging around on quite a comfy leather sofa in the lobby of the Lakeland, Florida Second District Court of Appeals and awaiting the ruling of a three-judge panel regarding the fate of an emergency motion, filed late Wednesday by the Hogan legal team, seeking to keep certain documents out of the public eye.
The order to unseal the documents (vacating the order to seal them from your favorite judge and mine, Pamela Campbell) came Wednesday at around mid-day, causing a scramble among journalists hoping to see what it was the Hogan team has successfully kept hidden, with Judge Campbell’s help, since October/November 2015. This is altogether likely to include evidence gathered by the FBI from Hogan and Bubba Clem, relating to its investigation of an extortion attempt on Hogan relating to the sex tape at issue in the trial.
It’s a complicated tale, but suffice it to say that Hogan and his lawyers themselves asked the FBI to become involved in this matter; they set up a sting, and the sex tape(s) and testimony relating to that investigation have been kept under lock and key through the efforts of Hogan’s lawyers. Gawker’s team looks to be about to unseal these documents, after many months’ efforts.
As the motion below shows, Hogan’s team is looking to keep the documents sealed until after the jury in the Hogan/Gawker trial renders its verdict (!).
The court clerk in Lakeland came out Thursday morning to let us know that the judges have ordered that the petitioners who originally sought to unseal the documents (“Times Publishing Company, et. al”) must respond to the above motion before 3 p.m. I’ll be sticking around here for a while, it looks like.
Peter Sterne at Politico Media has an excellent rundown of the previous developments.
So far on Thursday, the trial has consisted almost entirely of delays. The jury was instructed that they would be hearing the deposition on the videotape of Hogan, and then they’d be sent home. They were cautioned not to go online.