Update: 4:30 p.m. – Jury finds no defamation by Bubba the Love Sponge Clem.
Update: as of 1:15 p.m., the jury is now deliberating.
Closing arguments started Wednesday morning in the defamation case between Bubba the Love Sponge Clem and Todd “MJ” Schnitt.
Schnitt's attorney, Phil Campbell, started by laying out all of the “hurtful, humiliating” things Clem said about the Schnitt's on his radio show.
Campbell said Clem blamed Schnitt and his wife, Michelle, a former assistant state attorney, for his arrest for butchering a hog live on the air. Clem also accused Schnitt of rigging on-air contests, and Arbitron ratings. Clem told listeners that Schnitt took plug-ola and payola for promoting products on his show.
Clem also called Michelle Schnitt names on-air.
“The most disrespectful thing you can say about someone,” Campbell said in court.
Campbell played several clips from Clem's radio show during his closing argument.
Jurors heard Clem say he hated Schnitt from day one. “I can't wait until this guy is out of town. Seek and destroy,” said Clem on the recording.
Campbell asked jurors to find for the Schnitts, asking them what the case was worth in monetary damages, “$500,00? $1 million, $2 million, $2.5 million?” Campbell asked.
After a short break, Clem's attorney, Joseph Diaco made his closing argument.
He defended Clem's language, calling it “hyperbole and satire.”
He told jurors it is protected speech, “Speech that is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution.”
Diaco also raised the issue of the Schnitt's public profile. He said Clem is free to say what he said because they're public figures.
“Whether you like or dislike the words is not the issue,” said Diaco.
The jury is expected to start deliberating once closing arguments are finished.