TAMPA, FL. -- Todd "MJ" Schnitt's attorney's made a motion in court this morning for a mistrial. Schnitt's attorney Charles Phil Campbell was arrested in downtown Tampa Wednesday night for driving under the influence.
Allegations swirled in court at 9 a.m about a briefcase belonging to Plaintiff's attorney Campbell left found in the trunk of a car of one of shock jock Bubba Clem's attorney's associates and hints Schnitt's attorney Phil Campbell was set up to be arrested on DUI charges Wednesday night after drinking with an associate of defense counsel Joseph Diaco.
Circuit Judge James D. Sloan said this morning he finds "it disturbing" that incidents have come to light regarding allegations that the attorneys in the defamation suit brought by Todd "MJ" Schnitt against shock jock Bubba "The Love Sponge" Clem may have violated certain courtesy agreements made earlier in the trial.
Confusion, secret attorney conferences, someone crawling on the court floor, and loud shouting reigned for a half hour during court this morning. Allegations flew and the judge ordered attorneys to inaudible conferences before him, making it difficult for observers to know exactly what was going on in court.
Steven Diaco, brother of Bubba Clem's attorney Jospeph Diaco Jr. was involved Thursday in a subpoena for an appearance before the court and served on at 9 a.m. Friday. Steve Diaco's attorney is asking for a protective order to prevent his appearance. Judge Arnold ordered Diaco to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. today for testimony.
Joe Diaco denied any knowledge of wrong doing in the allegations before the court this morning. Judge Arnold said the issue this morning is whether any of the jury knows "anything about this" presumably referring to the news of Attorney Campbell's driving under the influence arrest this week. The jurors and several witnesses not yet dismissed by the court are not supposed to be reading or listening to reports about the trial.
The court is in recess at this moment. Presumably the Judge will inquire of jurors whether anyone has any knowledge of the Phil Campbell arrest Wednesday night.
Update: Michelle Schnitt (photo left) took the witness stand later this morning for direct examination by plaintiff's attorney answering questions about bad experiences she had with alleged "Bubba Army" fans and other incidents whereby Bubba Clem's radio show comments had caused harm her.
Mrs. Schnitt is a former assistant attorney with the State Attorney Office and now says she takes care of her children and also does errands for her husband.
Photo At Top: Man groping on courtroom floor, presumably for an electrical cable - Bubba Clem's legal contingent in background (photo credits: 13th Judicial Circuit/Fox 13 Tampa Bay)