Jury selection continued today in the Todd & Michelle Schnitt versus Bubba The Love Sponge Clem defamation trial in Tampa. According to the Tampa Bay Times, almost 50 potential jurors were asked a number of questions by attorneys for Schnitt and Clem in an effort to select 6 jurors and 4 alternates. The defamation trial is slated to last 3 weeks.
The Tampa Bay Times further reports that the potential jurors were asked questions on their experiences of bullying, and some gave examples of spousal and racial bullying. Fox13 reports that they were asked if they had ever had to handle a situation where they had had something nasty said about them. They were also asked about their television watching habits, and if they listened to the radio; if so which radio stations.
It was also reported by Fox 13 that during initial questioning, the Schnitt's attorney Phil Campbell asked the prospective jurors if any of them owned any "Bubba Army" merchandise such as flags or T-shirts. The "Bubba Army" is a colloquial name for fans of Mr Clem. It was noted that none of the potential jurors indicated ownership of any such items.
As reported in the Tampa Bay Times, the Schnitts filed the defamation suit in 2008. In the suit, they claim that Clem made "false, and highly offensive and defamatory statements" during a clamor for ratings after Clem made his return to regular radio. At the time Mr Schnitt, under his morning show alter ego MJ Kelli, was the number one rated show in the Tampa radio market.
Schnitt often reminded listeners that his MJ Morning show was "Arbitron rated number one". Clem has speculated on his show that losing this status is the main reason for the filing of the suit. The MJ Morning Show was cancelled by Clear Channel a year ago.
Fox 13 is speculating that opening statements will begin tomorrow, Wednesday January 16th.