Hulk Hogan's Lawyer Has Suspicions on Who Leaked the Racist Transcript


An audio transcript of Hulk Hogan uttering racist comments was leaked to Radar Online and the National ENQUIRER early Friday morning, resulting in his termination from WWE. That transcript came from audio that appeared on the infamous 2006 sex tape between Hulk Hogan and Heather Clem, the former wife of Bubba the Love Sponge. That tape, of course, is at the center of the litigation between Hulk Hogan and Gawker, which published excerpts of it.

An interesting side note: What happens in that Gawker litigation now that these comments have become public? Hogan’s side is already coming out expressing suspicion that Gawker is not clean in all of this.

“I have my suspicions, as you can imagine,” Hogan’s lawyer David Houston told FOX411. “If I can find out it is Gawker who leaked the transcripts, we will bury them.”

Gawker President and General Counsel Heather Dietrick responded with, “Hulk Hogan has only one person to blame for what he said and no one from Gawker had any role in leaking that information.”

[RELATED: Richard Sherman Channels Hulk Hogan, Invites Philly Crowd to Boo Him]

Gawker just happened to be in turmoil, just one week before the Hogan leak, for its own issues after the publication of a story outing Condé Nast’s CFO for allegedly soliciting sex with a gay pornstar. That story was ultimately pulled, and executive editor Tommy Craggs and editor-in-chief Max Read resigned in histrionic fashion.

There is little doubt that the leak came from people with possession of the tape or those who had seen the trial transcript of the sex tape that contained the racist rant. The Radar/National ENQUIRER story even mentions the following:

"“Radar and The ENQUIRER has learned explosive transcripts of the loathsome conversation have been filed in a Florida court, under seal, in a bid to prevent them from being publicly released. But an extensive news probe uncovered five independent sources who provided the dramatic contents of the tape to this publication.”"

You’ll note that the story quotes detailed and extensive statements from Hogan. You might also notice that no actual audio has emerged three days later, and believe me, these publications would absolutely run with the underlying audio if it was available.

So it is completely understandable that Hogan’s lawyer would suspect Gawker would be responsible for the information going public. The implications could be huge. Fox News cited Civil Rights attorney Ameer Benno, who said the following:

"“If it was Hogan’s adversary in litigation — Gawker — then the court has discretion to impose a range of sanctions against Gawker,” Benno explained. “At one extreme, the court could strike Gawker’s answer in the case, thereby awarding Hogan the equivalent of a default judgment. As a middle ground, the court could penalize Gawker by precluding it from introducing certain evidence or making certain arguments at trial in support of its defenses.”"

The timing of this release is curious, following a week of so much drama at Gawker, and while Gawker is in the middle of litigation with Hulk Hogan. Gawker would appear to be a party with access and motive. Or perhaps it was someone who had access to the transcript, and had a motive to make Gawker look even worse, or damage its chances in the underlying trial.

[photo via USATSI]