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Bubba attorneys ask to dismiss rest of Schnitt's lawsuit

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Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 11:03 AM
TAMPA -

With witness testimony complete, Bubba the Love Sponge Clem's attorneys asked a judge again to throw out a defamation lawsuit filed by radio rival Todd "MJ" Schnitt.

After two weeks of testimony, both sides rested shortly after lunch, and the jury was sent home for the afternoon. Closing arguments were expected Wednesday.

In the suit, Schnitt claims Clem defamed Schnitt and his wife on the air and incited Clem's fans, known as "Bubba's Army," to harass the Schnitts.

Before lunch, jurors heard testimony from Kimberly Collelo, known as "Jabberjaw" on air when working as a producer for Schnitt and later Clem. She now works for a law firm.

In an on-air 2008 conversation with Clem, Collelo said a "reliable source" accused Schnitt of fixing ratings books. She also accused Schnitt of receiving "plug-ola" money for personal sponsorships. "There's no doubt in mind," she said in the recording played in court.

Under cross-examination, Collelo denied having direct knowledge of either allegation. The "reliable source," Andrew Eden, was called as a rebuttal witness and denied telling Collelo that Schnitt was fixing the ratings books.

After the jury was sent home Tuesday, attorneys argued merits of 11 remaining accusations. Allegations made by Collelo during that phone conversation with Clem were among those in dispute. Schnitt's attorneys said Clem prompted Collelo to make some of those statements.

Five counts in the suit were thrown out Monday.

Collelo worked for Schnitt's show in the mid-2000s. She also did babysitting work for the Schnitts during that time. She later worked for Clem's show about 2½ years, until 2011.

Collelo also testified that while working as babysitter in 2005 for the Schnitts that they did not express fear for their family because of "Bubba's Army." She also said the Schnitts never mentioned to her that their house had been egged on Mother's Day that year. The Schnitts have said the egging was committed by fans of Clem and that a note was left that read "Bubba's army rules!"

Collelo also testified she did not see Schnitt in any altercations with Clem's fans during the 2008 and 2009 Gasparilla parades. She did see signs reflecting "Bubba's Army" along the route. Schnitt has testified he was grabbed at one parade and harassed at both events by Clem's fans.

The case taken some dramatic turns, including a DUI charge against one of Schnitt's lawyers and requests for mistrials from both sides.

Schnitt's legal team accused the law firm representing Clem of setting up the arrest of attorney Charles Phillip Campbell. Schnitt's lawyers said a paralegal working for the firm Adams & Diaco intentionally got Campbell drunk and another employee at the firm called police to have him arrested.

The attorney for one of Clem's lawyers told the judge his client's cellphone records have been subpoenaed by Schnitt's attorneys in that issue, central to Schnitt's mistrial request.

Clem's request for a mistrial, based on excessive media coverage, was denied. Schnitt's request has yet to be ruled on.

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