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DJ wins radio rival defamation suit, but claimed lawyer DUI set-up by opposing firm unresolved

Posted Jan 31, 2013 12:37 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A Florida shock jock celebrated with his counsel Wednesday when a jury found him not liable in a defamation suit brought by a competing DJ.

But, even after a six-week trial and an estimated $1 million in legal fees spent by both sides during a five-year litigation saga, the case might not be finally decided, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Still undetermined is how Circuit Judge James Arnold will rule on a mistrial motion brought by plaintiff Todd "MJ Kelli" Schnitt, after one of his lawyers said he had been set up for a driving-under-the-influence arrest by the law firm representing defendant Bubba the Love Sponge Clem. The arrested attorney's litigation trial bag reportedly was in the possession of a paralegal for the opposing law firm for hours, although the firm said its lawyers never opened it.

It also appears that Clem's firm, Adams & Diaco, could be entitled to attorney's fees, because Schnitt refused a pretrial settlement offer from his radio rival, the newspaper says.

Commenting on the verdict, which the jury reached after only about three hours of deliberation, attorney Joseph Diaco, who represented Clem, said the context was critical, the Tampa Tribune reports.

"No one goes to the Bubba the Love Sponge morning show to learn an objective fact," said Diaco. "It's an entertainment show. It's a farce."

Schnitt's lawyers were grim after the verdict and left the courthouse without commenting.

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