Monday, January 28, 2013
Bubba The Love Sponge Trial Resumes
TAMPA, FL. -- The Todd "MJ" Schnitt vs. Bubba "The Love Sponge" Clem defamation trial continues this morning with the jury taking their seats at 10:45 a.m. Monday.
Earlier this morning, arguments continued from Friday, attorneys seeking a mistrial and to dismiss the suit. Both motions failed and the jury returned to hear the plaintiff's rest their case, after having Thursday afternoon and Friday off due to controversy surrounding the arrest of Schnitt's attorney Phil Campbell for a DUI charge Wednesday evening. Campbell spent the night in a Tampa jail.
The jury was polled by the Judge to make sure they had not heard any news about the case from outside the courtroom.
Clem's attorney brought to the stand it's first witness, Benjamin Homel, aka on the radio as Randy Michaels which he prefers to be called (photo above) a radio executive for various broadcasting companies, testifying about working with Clem and Schnitt. He noted that Clem's background was in professional wrestling with a tradition of goading opponents, and the two radio DJs would often take verbal shots at each other calling for some mediation by the radio station management.
He told the jury Bubba Clem's show become targeted to men, while MJ Kelli's show targeted women. Michaels was the CEO of ClearChannel Radio when Clem was sued by the state and lost, over the on-air wild hog butchering stunt and said the company backed Clem.
Just before the afternoon one and one-half hour lunch break Michaels told the jury he never heard Bubba Clem give a call to action to any listeners to do anything physical to Mr. or Mrs. Schnitt.
More defensive witnesses took the stand in the afternoon and again Tuesday morning.
Update: Both sides have finished with witness testimony as of Tuesday and the jury was sent home early. Next on Wednesday is making their closing arguments. The attorneys began working on jury instructions Tuesday afternoon with the Judge, recessing court at 2:20 p.m. They will return at 8:30 a.m.Wednesday to continue working on jury instructions and then making closing arguments before the jury starts it's deliberations on a verdict.
Photo: 13th Judicial Circuit / Fox 13 Tampa Bay