TAMPA - Jurors in the Todd "MJ" Schnitt - Bubba the Love Sponge Clem defamation trial heard closing arguments from both sides Wednesday morning, and rendered a verdict later in the afternoon.
See a complete report from ABC Action News reporter John Thomas by clicking the video player above.
Watch the courtroom proceedings live at http://www.abcactionnews.com//subindex/news/news_livestream1 .
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.
The jury broke for lunch shortly after noontime, the judge began reading the jury its instructions at 1 p.m. and finished around 1:20 p.m.
Alternate juror Alana Wilshire, who was released before jurors began their deliberations, 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 names kind of needs to grow up, you know, develop a thicker skin."
Wilshire, a nurse who moved to th bay area two years ago, said she had little knowledge "of either of these people."
abcactionnews.com will carry the verdict live when the jury reaches a decision.
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