Judge sets trial date for Hulk Hogan, Gawker sex tape battle

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) -- Dressed in all black and wearing his signature do-rag, Hulk Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, made his way into a St. Petersburg courthouse on Wednesday morning flanked by his team of attorneys.

Bollea is suing the gossip website Gawker for $100 million. Bollea claims his privacy was violated when the website released a video of him having sex with the wife of radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge Clem.

The video was recorded several years ago in Clem's home. Gawker published a portion of the tape in 2012, and Bollea has been involved in a lawsuit against Gawker since then.

"It was an extortion of my client. It was somebody trying to shake him down on a tape that he didn't consent to, that they published with knowledge that he hadn't consented to it all of which and in every scenario which there's one victim constantly and that's Terry Bollea," said Bollea Attorney Kenneth Turkel in court on Wednesday.

Gawker attorneys asked the judge to dismiss the case based on what they believe are lies that were told by Bollea.

"There was one thing that they wanted to deceive about. But as often the case, that led to a second thing to cover for the first thing, and then the third thing to cover for the second thing, to cover for the first thing" said Gawker attorney, Seth Berlin.

Bollea's reputation has taken a beating. An audio transcript from the same tape was also released which caused further damage to the wrestling superstar's reputation.

"There was a tape involving him having sex with Heather Clem that had him making racist comments on it," said Berlin, referring to Bubba the Love Sponge's former wife.

Bollea has apologized for the comments, which include the use of the "N" word to describe a man dating his daughter. The World Wrestling Entertainment company (WWE) cut all ties to Bollea.

The smackdown continues in court as Bollea's attorneys try to convince the judge that the sex tape was made without his knowledge and should never have been put on the internet.

The judge ruled against a motion to dismiss the case. The trial will begin March 7th.



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