Shock jock defamation trial continues in Tampa
Shock jock defamation trial continues in Tampa; state attorney expected to testify
Hillsborough County State Attorney Mark Ober testified Friday that his office did not orchestrate the arrest of radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, who is defending himself in a defamation lawsuit.
The trial was in its fifth day in Tampa. Rival radio host Todd "MJ" Schnitt is suing Clem over remarks he made five years ago on air.
Clem is accused of making defamatory remarks about Schnitt and his wife, former Assistant State Attorney Michelle Schnitt. The Schnitts' claim that Bubba took his on-air radio war for ratings too far.
Michelle Schnitt worked for Ober when Clem was arrested in 2001 after an on-air stunt involving the castration of a boar. Clem, and others involved, were acquitted of animal cruelty charges, but Clem later said on air that Michelle Schnitt set up the arrest, the lawsuit asserts.
Ober testified to the jury how his office files charges against defendants and said that his assistant state attorneys could not orchestrate arrests. He said that he did not hold a secret meeting with the Schnitts about Clem's prosecution.
Ober added that while he knew that Michelle Schnitt was married to the radio host, he never listened to the show.
"I'm a sports radio guy," Ober said. "I have never in my life listened to the morning show that he had."
A listener also testified Friday that he didn't think Clem was joking when he said on the air that he would like to have a "funeral" for MJ Schnitt.
In a clip played from Clem's radio show, the DJ said: "I will not be happy until we have a funeral for MJ in the streets of Tampa. I can't wait until this guy is out of town. Seek and destroy. We don't put people down, we break their necks."
Earlier Friday, a former cast member of Schnitt's show testified. She recounted harassing encounters she had with followers of Clem, known as "Bubba's Army." Schnitt's former co-host — BJ Harris, who now works in Denver — also testified.
The lawsuit claims Clem incited "Bubba's Army" to harass and threaten the Schnitts and his cast members.
Clem denies the claims, saying he was using "hyperbole" and "satire" and that his sharp-tongued comments were entertainment and protected by the First Amendment.
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