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Thiel says he decided several years ago to try to cripple Gawker

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William Labounty
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It s less about revenge and more about specific deterrence, Thiel told Sorkin.

Thiel went on to explain that he had decided several years ago to secretly fund multiple cases to try to cripple Gawker, saying if he didn t fight on behalf of Gawker s victims, he feared no one would.

His first step was to hire a legal team to look for cases that he could help financially support.

While some think Thiel is right to stick it to an outlet that at times seemed to rely on tormenting him to meet its traffic targets, others — including reporters and First Amendment specialists — expressed concern today that Thiel and other wealthy benefactors could effectively silence journalists and other critics by funding lawsuits against them.

Indeed, though not illegal or new — American Lawyer says more third parties are covering legal fees than ever before — the suddenly high-profile case has seemingly raised awareness about the practice, for better or worse.

Featured Image: Noah Berger/Getty Images

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William Labounty
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