MJ vs. Bubba the Love Sponge verdict: MJ loses defamation lawsuit to Bubba

6:23 PM, 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 - A jury has sided with Bubba the Love Sponge Clem in the defamation trial between two Tampa-based radio shock jocks.

Jurors found comments Clem made on-air about his radio rival Todd "MJ" Schnitt and Schnitt's wife Michelle did not defame them and no financial damages were awarded.

Attorneys for Schnitt told jurors Wednesday that Clem defamed Schnitt "out of sheer hatred." Clem's lawyer countered by saying that "context is everything."

The jury deliberated for about three hours on whether Clem's on-air statements about Schnitt and his wife, Michelle, were injurious before coming back with a not guilty verdict on all 24 counts.

See Also: Alternate juror tells MJ to "put your big girl panties on"

Schnitt filed the suit, claiming Clem and his Bubba Radio Network defamed the Schnitts and incited Clem's fans, known as the "Bubba Army," to harass the family.

Schnitt didn't speak with reporters after the verdict, but did write on his Twitter page: "My wife & I were protecting our reputations & also standing up for so many others who have been defamed, but didn't have the means to fight."

During the trial, Clem testified that the statements outlined in Schnitt's lawsuit were opinion, hyperbole, satire and directed toward a public figure, and therefore protected by the First Amendment.

But in another Tweet, Schnitt writes, "This was never a 1st Amendment case. I love our Constitution. The 1st doesn't allow you to lie and make false and defamatory statements."

There could be more problems for MJ though. We're learning that Bubba's lawyers could seek legal fees racked up over five years.

Bubba had this to say as he was walking out of the court house Wednesday: "We're going to hang MJ in effigy. We're going to hang a casket out there ... we're going to get after him. I've only just begun... jokes my friend, jokes."

We did ask MJ's attorneys if they plan on appealing, but Phil Campbell says he is still trying to take in the verdict before making any decision on that.

The judge had previously dismissed five charges against Clem in the case.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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