Hulk Hogan Feeling 'Pretty Darn Good' as He Arrives for Gawker Sex Tape Trial

Hulk Hogan Feeling 'Pretty Darn Good' as He Arrives for Gawker Sex Tape Trial
Terry Bollea, known as professional wrestler Hulk Hogan
Scott Keeler/The Tampa Bay Times via AP, Pool

03/07/2016 AT 10:00 AM EST

Hulk Hogan was in good spirits Monday morning as he entered a courthouse in St. Petersburg, Florida, hoping to win $100 million in damages at trial from the website Gawker, which published a secretly recorded sex tape involving the professional wrestler.

Hogan, 62, who is going by his legal name, Terry Bollea, at the trial, said he was feeling "pretty darn good" as he arrived with his attorney David Houston. He did admit, though, that he was "not used to getting up this early" except to work out.

He was also sporting his signature bandana, which the judge in the case is allowing him to wear in court.

Inside the courtroom, the jury of six women and three men filed in.

Hogan claims his privacy was violated when Gawker posted a portion of a video in 2012 showing him having sex with Heather Clem, the former wife of his then-friend Bubba the Love Sponge, a radio shock jock. Jury selection in the case was held last week, and opening arguments commence Monday.

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Gawker Media claims the post is protected by the First Amendment, and that Hogan's privacy complaint doesn't hold since he often bragged about his sex life.



Gawker gave a new statement Monday to PEOPLE that read, in part:

"Hulk Hogan was more than willing to talk about his sex life – including in two autobiographies, a reality TV series and Howard Stern's radio show – until he didn't like what Gawker had to say. Now he wants $100 million as compensation."

The statement added: "Compare that with the $5,000 settlement that Bubba paid Hulk for the actual taping. And Bubba also had plenty to say about the tape he made, talking about it on his radio show, on Howard Stern's radio show and in his deposition for this case. But we've just learned that Bubba will plead the 5th during this trial, rather than answer important questions about the facts that could undermine Hulk Hogan's claims."

Houston, Hogan's lawyer, has lambasted Gawker's First Amendment defense, telling PEOPLE last week that Gawker's motivation for posting the video was "salacious greed."

"Gawker is exploiting the First Amendment so that they can do whatever they want to whomever they desire," Houston said. "This lawsuit was filed to draw a line in the sand – a line that had to be drawn."

Hogan himself told PEOPLE last summer, when the trial was due to begin before being delayed, that he planned to fight Gawker to the end.

"I'm going all the way," he said. "The stuff they do to people, the stuff they show. I will not back down from this type of evil. Despite all of their threats, I will not back down from this type of evil."

Reporting by DEVAN LESLEY
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