Gawker lawyers don't think the journalist Hulk Hogan pays $350 an hour is an 'expert'

We know that Nick Denton is pretty self-assured in his $US100 million war with Hulk Hogan, but it looks like Hogan is flexing his muscle for some help from an “expert journalist.”

Many news sites had speculated up to seven months beforehand that Hogan’s sex tape featuring himself and Heather Clem — his friends’ ex wife — was floating around.

In October 2012, Gawker published parts of the tape accompanied with some cheeky text under the headline that said “Even for a minute, watching Hulk Hogan have sex in a canopy bed is not safe for work, but watch it anyway.”

The professional wrestler has dished out an estimated $US15,000 to University of Florida journalism professor Mike Foley to help his case. Foley expressed concerns that Gawker was in it for the money at the deposition: “I think that’s why Gawker publishes nude photographs,” he said. “I believe it publishes rumours and half truths without regard for their veracity. I think that there is total disregard for privacy.”

However, Gawker’s attorneys questioned Foley’s status as an expert witness, as both of the cases he’s previously consulted never made it to trial. They also questioned the legitimacy of Foley’s testimony last month, calling it “pure opinion” while Florida law mandates sufficient facts and data.

Foley, a journalist with over four decades of experience under his belt, has reportedly spent 60 hours working on the case already. Hogan is paying Foley $US250 an hour during the March 20 deposition, according to Capital New York, and 15 to 20 hours were spent picking apart the posts on Gawker. Foley will be paid $US350 an hour for testifying at the trial.

If the case is lost on Gawker’s end, however, the company could need to turn to “somebody with deeper pockets,” Denton said. A Gawker insider told Capital New York that they expect the company to lose the case.

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