Hulk Hogan Sex Tape Trial Against Gawker Begins with Jury Selection: 'I Will Not Back Down From this Type of Evil'

Hulk Hogan Sex Tape Trial Against Gawker Gets Underway with Jury Selection
Terry Bollea, known as professional wrestler Hulk Hogan
Scott Keeler/The Tampa Bay Times via AP, Pool

03/02/2016 AT 01:55 PM EST

A long-simmering legal battle between wrestler Hulk Hogan and Gawker Media got underway Tuesday morning inside a St. Petersburg, Florida, courtroom with the start of jury selection, PEOPLE confirms.

A courthouse official tells PEOPLE that some 500 people were summoned to serve on the jury during the wrestler's impending $100 million civil trial, which he filed against the news site for publishing footage from a sex tape featuring Hogan and his former best friend's ex-wife.

The footage was posted to Gawker in 2012, and shows Hogan, 62, having sexual intercourse with 41-year-old Heather Clem, the former wife of Florida radio talk show host Bubba the Love Sponge.

Hogan claims he did not know the encounter was being filmed.

Hogan, whose birth name is Terry Bollea, wore all black during Tuesday's proceedings, according to court staffers. He also wore a gold cross necklace and his trademark bandanna, sources say.

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Ahead of Tuesday's court appearance, Hogan took to Twitter, and confidently proclaimed he'd soon "slam another giant!"

Jury selection was scheduled to continue on Wednesday, and court officials believe the trial could run three weeks to a month.

Hogan to PEOPLE: 'I Will Not Back Down From this Type of Evil'

In his suit, Hogan argues that Gawker violated his privacy by publishing the sex tape. The site's lawyers will rely heavily on the First Amendment in their upcoming defense, noting that Hogan often spoke openly about his sex life with other media outlets.

The clip runs less than 2 minutes, and has since been pulled from the site.

Last summer, in an interview with PEOPLE, Hogan spoke at length about his lawsuit, saying he would take his fight to the finish.

"When we got into this thing with Gawker, almost everybody backs down from them," Hogan said. "Everybody runs away in fear. Everybody is afraid of their sex tape. In my case, it was sex tape being made and I didn't even know it was being made. They have the wrong guy. I'm going all the way. The stuff they do to people, the stuff they show. I will not back down from this type of evil. Despite all of their treats, I will not back down from this type of evil."

Hogan added he has "nothing to hide," and accused the site of hurting innocent lives and destroying people "for no reason."
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