Originally posted on PW Insider by Mike Johnson

The Hulk Hogan civil lawsuit against Gawker over the website’s decision to publish excerpts of his sex tape with Heather Clem has officially ended it’s closing arguments as of this afternoon.

The Judge in the case has sent the jury to deliberate and decide which side is correct – that Gawker violated Hogan’s right to privacy or whether Gawker was protected by the First Amendment and were acting as journalists when they published the video. If they rule for Hogan, they must also decide whether Hogan is entitled to any of the $100 million in damages he is suing for.

The case could have interesting ripple effects as it would set a legal precedent for where boundaries lie when it comes to public celebrities and media coverage of private, intimate moments. Hogan’s side has argued that in public, he is playing the Hogan character but privately he is Terry Bollea, and that the video, which Hogan did not know was being filmed, was out of the auspices of his public persona – hence the invasion of privacy.

What is interesting is that today, word came out via material from the original statements made by Hogan’s former best friend, Bubba the Love Sponge/Todd Clem to the FBI during their investigation into an attempted extortion of Hogan over the tapes after they were stolen from Clem’s office indicates that Clem told the FBI that Hogan was indeed aware he was being filmed. Clem later, in a deposition, stated Hogan was not aware. Clem has publicly announced he would refuse to testify in the trial and was not called to the stand by either side, although Gawker obviously wanted him to testify. Clems’s comments to the FBI as well as a TON of other material were unsealed today.

Gawker released the following statement to the media this afternoon:

As the trial concludes, we’re disappointed the jury was unable to see key evidence and hear testimony from the most important witness. So, it was may be necessary for the appeals court to resolve this case. Hulk Hogan’s best friend Bubba the Love Sponge — who made the tape and offered up his wife in the first place — originally told his radio listeners that Hulk Hogan knew he was being taped. The jury was only able to hear a questionable version of events. Bubba should have required to appear in court and explain what really happened.

There is more to this story. We expect the upcoming release of improperly sealed documents, important evidence that the jury should have been able to see, will begin revealing the true facts that the jury deserved to know about during deliberations.”

Hogan, meanwhile, Tweeted the following this afternoon:

Praying HH