TAMPA - A Tampa jury ruled Wednesday that shock jock Todd "MJ" Schnitt and his wife were not defamed by Bubba the Love Sponge Clem who made harsh on-air comments about the couple over a period of time.
Jurors came to their decision after nearly 3 hours of deliberation.
After the verdict, Bubba said it was a victory for free speech.
Watch the live interview with Bubba in the player above.
Alternate juror Alana Wilshire, who was released early, had little sympathy for the plaintiffs. "I don't think they were able to prove defamation, in my opinion," she said. "I think anybody that runs and cries and hides in their house because someone called them a name kind of needs to grow up, you know, develop a thicker skin."
Wilshire, a nurse who moved here two years ago, said she had little knowledge "of either of these people."
Schnitt sought monetary damages from Clem.
The jury heard closing arguments from both sides Wednesday morning. Those arguments ended shortly after noon, the jury got the case shortly before 1:30 p.m.
Earlier, Schnitt attorney Phil Campbell rebuked Bubba's claim that supposed anger expressed by Bubba was free speech and just a joke.
"I did not hear any humor. I did not hear any satire. I did not hear any exaggeration in Clem's voice, and neither did his audience," Campbell told the jury.
But Clem's attorney, Joseph Diaco, told the jury that Clem's on-air comments about Schnitt and his wife were for entertainment purposes and "a farce."
"It does not matter if it is a lyric from from a song or whether it is Bill O'Reilly, it is all protected by the first amendment," Diaco said.
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