MJ vs. Bubba the Love Sponge trial heads to closing arguments; who will win?

9:13 AM, Jan 30, 2013   |    comments
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Todd "M.J." Schnitt (left) and Bubba "The Love Sponge" Clem (right) appear in a Hillsborough courtroom. Schnitt has filed a defamation lawsuit, saying Clem made offensive comments about him and his wife.


TAMPA, Florida - The arguments have been made. The witnesses have been called.

It's go time.

This is the legal showdown of all showdowns in court. It's MJ vs. Bubba: the final chapter. What started out as a defamation lawsuit has turned into a three ring circus!

WATCH: Live courtroom video of the M.J. vs. Bubba trial

Some call it a soap opera saga of epic proportions. The case has gone national, and locally it is a story that everyone is talking about and watching non-stop.

No one can forget the now-infamous testimony of repeated statements such as, "I don't recall" and "I reserve my right to plead the fifth amendment." It was said over and over by a well-known and respected local attorney and a pretty legal assistant.

So, what was really going on with those statements?

As he left court one day, Bubba said with a smile, "It's like a South Park episode and I'm getting tired of it."

Here's why.

In the middle of the trial, MJ's attorney, Phil Campbell, was busted for DUI after drinking at Malio's with a legal assistant who works for the law firm representing Bubba. Someone tipped off the cops that night, and Campbell was arrested.

So, was it a setup? Who was the mastermind behind the Malio's meeting?

Phil Campbell also left his all-important legal briefcase behind. Talk about drama.

Longtime defense attorney Barry Cohen told 10 News, "It's not a good thing, and that's why I say it's so serious, Melanie. It's a serious matter, you don't do this to people."

At the heart of this entire bizarre case? MJ is suing Bubba the Love Sponge, claiming that the longtime nationally syndicated radio host made defamatory remarks on the air. MJ claims he feared for his life and didn't like the fact that Bubba called MJ's wife, Michelle, a whore.

See Also: MJ has sued rival radio personality before

Mindi Richter, Schnitts' attorney, said in court, "What we have is hatred. We have ill intent. We have his own words, that he's trying to seek revenge against the Schnitts. He wants Mr. Schnitt to die. I don't think we have any good faith basis for any of the comments that he's made about the Schnitts."

But, Bubba's attorneys say MJ is a public figure and open to criticism. In fact, Bubba's team argued that the comments made about Todd "MJ" Schnitt were parody and hyperbole, and were never meant to be taken seriously.

Greg Hearing, Bubba's lawyer, said, "It may be offensive. It may be offensive to me as his attorney, but that's not the standard. The standard is whether it's defamation and it's protected speech under the first amendment."

Both sides rested Tuesday and closing arguments began 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Be sure to follow Melanie Michael's coverage. She will be live in the courtroom tweeting. Follow her @WTSPMelanie.

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