Originally published at Death and Taxes, ed. Brian Abrams, 18 March 2016.
Grateful thanks to the Internet Archive for preserving this work.
Judge Pamela Campbell is in her fifties, with dyed blond hair and big glasses. When court resumed on Wednesday afternoon, her habitual expression of bland indifference had given way to a look of pained concern. All emotions in a courtroom are necessarily on the restrained side, but there was a lot visible Wednesday, all the same.
The Hogan team was visibly subdued and even downcast, in the case of lawyer Shane Vogt, while the Gawker attorneys were just as subtly jubilant. Michael Sullivan was bouncing around as if nearly weightless. After many days of watching the proceedings here, there’s an all-new electricity in the air.
That is because Florida’s Second District Court of Appeals has quashed Judge Campbell’s order to seal a few dozen documents at issue in the trial including, if I am not mistaken, a number of files relating to an earlier FBI investigation involving testimony from Bubba the Love Sponge Clem.
These sealed documents are liable, I think, to contain proof that Hogan knew he was being filmed during his tryst with Heather Clem. If so, that would put his claim of “invasion of privacy” in real jeopardy.
I spent an hour shadowing media counsel Alison Steele, representing the Tampa Bay Times, and learned that the Clerk’s Office here is waiting on the word of the court counsel. That is, the lawyer who represents the entire Pinellas County Sixth Circuit Court, in order to learn exactly what it is that’s supposed to be done next with respect to making the documents available.
I asked Steele, who has an air of absolute competence and good humor despite the twin casts on her wrists (she slipped in the bath) to conjecture on what might happen next. “You want my Vegas odds,” she said. She thinks there is an 80 percent chance the Hogan camp will file a motion to stay (that is, delay) this trial.
Why? Perhaps because Gawker’s lawyers, who already have copies of all the sealed documents, can now freely make reference to them in court.
Hogan looks very, very tired.