Hulk Hogan's reputation is irreparably tarnished after RadarOnline.com and The National ENQUIRER exposed his vile racist and homophobic rants to the world. But now, Radar has learned, his attorneys are scrambling to get revenge, demanding that a judge help them find out just who was behind the explosive leak!
Hogan, born Terry Bollea, wants "to find out who was responsible for disseminating highly confidential information," court documents obtained by Radar state. "...And to hold anyone responsible who attempted to yet again capitalize on the illegally recorded footage and related evidence which was obtained in violation of his right to privacy and used as part of an attempted extortion."
As such, his attorneys have asked the judge to permit them to appoint an independent electronic forensic expert that would be given access to Gawker's computer network, systems and tablets in the hopes of uncovering a mole.
"Should the evidence establish that Gawker Defendants violated this Court's orders" and leaked the footage, the documents state, "Mr. Bollea will request the entry of an order to show cause as to why they should not be held in civil and criminal contempt and sanctioned accordingly."
The explosive audiotape excerpts had initially been obtained by Gawker via a Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI, which had been conducting an investigation into a possible extortion attempt related to the sex tape Hogan inadvertently made with Heather Clem in 2012.
However, the court ruled on July 1, at a pretrial hearing, that the excerpts with "offensive language" should be excluded at the trial.
Nevertheless, on July 10, 2015, Gawker Media honcho Nick Denton posted a story on a Gawker-affiliated website that seemed to hint the material still might surface elsewhere. "There will be a third act which we believe will center on the real story," Denton wrote, "the additional recordings held by the FBI, the information in them that is Hulk Hogan's real secret, and irregularities in the recordings which indicate some sort of cover-up."
Hogan's attorneys claim, "Mr. Denton was presumably referring to documents purporting to reflect Mr. Bollea's use of offensive language on a recording of Mr. Bollea and Ms. Clem..."
Not long after, however, Gawker became mired in their own public relations scandal after outing a New York media executive. And Hogan's attorneys claim that gave them the motivation to leak the wrestler's racially charged comments.
The court documents claim, "Gawker was facing a catastrophic ―meltdown, huge public backlash, and losing advertisers because of its sordid post allegedly outing a corporate executive. This public relations nightmare, the fallout from which essentially cemented Mr. Bollea's claims against Gawker Defendants, was publicly unfolding at the very same time that Mr. Bollea was pushing to re-set the trial of his claims much sooner than Gawker Defendants expected."
"Having already publicly admitted that a victory for Mr. Bollea would destroy Gawker and its way of doing business, Gawker Defendants had very few options remaining to save their way of life."
If Gawker had any role in leaking the sealed excerpts, Hogan wants possible civil and criminal penalties imposed, including jail, a civil fine for contempt, restitution, and attorney's fees.
As Radar reported, the jaw-dropping excerpts, published in a joint world exclusive with The ENQUIRER, featured the formerly beloved wrestler admitting "I am a racist," using the N word, launching homophobic slurs, and examples of other vile speech.
He was subsequently dropped from the WWE over the scandal, despite a public apology.
Gawker Media's president and general counsel Heather Dietrick told Radar, "Hulk Hogan has only one person to blame for what he said and no one from Gawker had any role in leaking that information."