The wrestler, known in court by his legal name, Terry G. Bollea, sobbed as the verdict was announced in late afternoon, according to people in the courtroom.
Mr. Bollea’s team said the verdict represented “a statement as to the public’s disgust with the invasion of privacy disguised as journalism,” adding: “The verdict says, ‘No more.'”.
At issue in the case, in Pinellas County Circuit Court, was a grainy black-and-white tape made in the mid-2000s, which showed Mr. Bollea having sex with the wife of a friend of his at the time, Todd Clem, a radio shock jock who had legally changed his name to Bubba the Love Sponge Clem.
Mr. Bollea explained his relationship with Mr. Clem, and the ways in which Mr. Clem had encouraged him to sleep with his wife.
Mr. Bollea’s lawyers said that the publication of the video was a gratuitous invasion of privacy, and had no news value.
Gawker had argued that its posting of a brief excerpt of the tape was protected by the Constitution, and that Mr. Bollea had given up his right to privacy by talking often in public about his sex life.
According to documents unsealed on Friday, the radio host initially told federal investigators that Mr. Bollea was aware that his tryst with Mrs. Clem was being recorded.
The plaintiff’s legal team issued its own statement, saying that during the three and a half years since the lawsuit was filed, Mr. Clem had testified only once under oath and had “Confirmed that Terry Bollea had no knowledge of being filmed or anything to do with it.”