News (USA)

Is billionaire Peter Thiel secretly funding Hulk Hogan/Gawker lawsuit?

In a 2009 interview, Thiel called Valleywag “the Silicon Valley equivalent of al-Qaida” and said it relies on people who “should be described as terrorists, not as writers or reporters.”

During Wednesday’s court proceedings, Gawker’s attorneys asked the judge to allow them to seek evidence from the other side regarding Thiel’s supposed involvement. But the judge said no.

Gawker is counting on the case to be overturned on appeal and has not said whether it can afford the full $140 million. During the trial, Gawker’s parent company, a collection of websites called Gawker Media, was estimated to be worth $83 million.

Earlier this month, Hogan sued Gawker again, saying the website leaked sealed court documents containing a transcript that quoted him making racist remarks. After the National Enquirer published the story, the WWE pro wrestling company severed its ties with Hogan. Gawker denies it leaked the transcript.

In legal circles, attorney James Sammataro of Miami said people speculated how Hogan could afford such a large “dream team” of lawyers.

Said Miami attorney Richard Wolfe: “It sounds to me that Hulk Hogan made a smart deal by getting the right guy to finance his lawsuit.”

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