Bubba 'the Love Sponge' Clem vs. Todd 'MJ' Schnitt: Judge tells lawyers time to '...move on'
Judge Arnold wants a resolution, attorneys agree
1:46 PM, Mar 8, 2013
5:14 PM, Mar 8, 2013
TAMPA - Attorneys for Tampa shock jocks Bubba "The Love Sponge" Clem and Todd "MJ" Schnitt were in a Hillsborough County Courtroom Friday morning, but not for the defamation suit that made headlines in January.
This time, the saga between the two sides was between the attorneys and allegations of attorney misconduct during the trial more than a month ago.
Friday morning's hearing was calm, but the was plenty of finger pointing, with both sides looking for some sort of resolution. Judge James Arnold said he had enough of it all.
"This case has been pending for five years. We need to resolve the rest of the issues and move on," said Judge Arnold, who also presided over the defamation trial.
That trial was suspended for a day after MJ's attorney, Phil Campbell was arrested for DUI. MJ's team says they think that night was a set up, as Campbell was driving a car that belonged to one of Diaco's legal assistant's when he was pulled over. After Friday's hearing, Diaco took a moment to speak with ABC Action News and he said otherwise.
"Not a single thing that was done was illegal or unethical," says Diaco.
Wil Florin, MJ's new attorney retained post trial, says he and his team are still waiting for evidence from the night Campbell was arrested, but they haven't received it.
"I don't know what all they are holding, but they aren't going to give it to us until we pay them," says Florin.
Florin says there are claims MJ still owes about a million dollars in legal fees from the trial and until they are paid, opposing council won't release any of the evidence they have asked for.
"Everybody's entitled to a judicial process that's fair and isn't influenced improperly, " Florin said.
Friday's hearing ended with both sides agreeing to attempt to resolve their issues in mediation in hopes of ending this drawn out courtroom battle once and for all.
"I think there is risk on both sides and as long as everyone appreciates them," says George Vaka, appellate attorney assisting Diaco in the post-trial appeals process. "That's what we want, that's our job."
The judge gave the attorneys until April 22 to get it all figured out. If they don't, its back to the drawing board starting with taking sworn testimony from individuals affiliated with the defamation trial.