TAMPA - It was a long day two in the civil lawsuit pitting two of the Tampa Bay area's most well-known radio personalities, Todd "MJ" Schnitt and Bubba the Love Sponge Clem. But by the end of the day, the judge did seat a jury.
Both sides were methodological when it came to selecting a jury. On the one hand, the Schnitt camp would press to see if potential jurors had any opinions when it came to things like "name calling" and "bullying." For their part, the Bubba camp would approach jurors almost looking to see "who gets a joke."
And that, in a nutshell, sums up both sides, and is at the root of the civil defamation case.
The Schnitt camp claims, in an effort to become the number one radio show in the market, Bubba the Love Sponge Clem went too far. That he actually launched personal attacks against "MJ" and his wife, Michelle, referring to her using a very unflattering term.
Bubba's team maintains both Schnitts are public personalities, and thus, fair game when it comes to broadcasting parodies or gags.
In this case, seating the right jury is key for both sides. Outside the courtroom, Bubba's attorney Joe Diaco would spell out what this case is all about. "I think it will be clear to a jury when they hear all the evidence that this is really just a case of name-calling 101."
How each juror walks away from that 101 class, and what lesson they learned will determine who wins. But that is still weeks away.
Today, it was enough to find enough jurors to be sworn in. That happened around 6:00 p.m.
On a side note, if you are wondering who is paying for this, each side must pick up their own cost for attorneys, experts, etc.
As for the court costs including bailiffs, court reporters, and so forth, taxpayers like you and I are picking up the tab.