Gawker just won a round in the Hulk Hogan sex tape fight

Last night in Tampa, Gawker pummelled down one enemy: it won a lawsuit against the FBI regarding mystery documents the agency withheld related to the Hulk Hogan sex tape case.

Now Gawker can use that evidence to defend against Hogan’s lawsuit for an invasion of privacy.

Three years ago, the media company published excerpts of the professional wrestler’s sex tape of him and Heather Clem, his friend’s ex-wife. The article also features snarky, explicit commentary.

Gawker asked to obtain “ALL documents relating to an investigation, or a request for an investigation” under Freedom of Information Act on November 13, 2013. But the FBI held onto mystery DVDs and $US150,000 check from Hogan’s lawyer to a Hollywood lawyer, Keith Davidson. There were also over a thousand documents related to an ongoing investigation, and they said they would not be releasing them.

According to court filings, Judge Susan Bucklew from Florida’s Middle District court agreed that these documents were not exempt from FOIA. She told Erik Stegeby, who represented the FBI, that the they needed to turn over the DVDs by Friday. There will be a another hearing next Thursday to clarify whether or not the FBI needs to turn over the documents too.

Gawker reached out with a statement regarding the newly obtained evidence: “This FBI’s tapes and documents should help answer a number of questions relevant to Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit — whether there are still more sex tapes out there, who was taping and why and who all knew about it. We always want to get to the bottom of every story, and now we’re a step closer to knowing the full truth here.”

Gawker is the high-brow gossip sheet covering media, entertainment, politics and technology.

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