Federal Judge Makes Gawker Chief Pay Out Millions To Hulk Hogan

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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Gawker founder Nick Denton is staring down the barrel of bankruptcy after a federal judge declined to extend a legal shield protecting him from liability in the Hulk Hogan case.

A Florida court found Gawker guilty of several civil offenses after it posted a video of Hogan having sex with the wife of friend and radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge in March. The court awarded Hogan $115 million in compensatory damages and another $25 million in punitive damages. Denton is personally liable for $125 million of the total figure.

Gawker filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month. Both Denton and the company received a temporary shield from liability, pending the sale of Gawker Media. Denton petitioned a federal bankruptcy court to extend the shield, arguing that he would not be able to successfully execute the sale of the media company if he were simultaneously navigating his own personal bankruptcy. (RELATED: Who Wants To Buy A Gawker?)

“I know they are going to want to speak to me,” Denton told the court. “I’m the founder of the company. I know where all the bodies are buried.”

Attorneys for Hulk Hogan argued that Gawker’s executive team and staff of bankruptcy consultants were able to make arrangements for the company without Denton’s assistance.

Judge Stuart Bernstein rejected Denton’s argument, which will likely force him to declare personal bankruptcy in the immediate future. The Guardian reports Denton has few assets, which include his apartment in New York and 30 percent of Gawker’s stock.

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