Bubba "the Love Sponge" Clem
Tampa, Florida -- Bubba the Love Sponge Clem pounded his chest in victory via the airwaves on Thursday, spending most of his morning show on the Bubba Radio Network talking about the civil defamation trial he's spent five years fighting.
On Wednesday, a jury of six sided with the Bubba, agreeing he did not defame the characters of his radio rival Todd "MJ" Schnitt and Schnitt's wife.
Bubba hailed it as a victory, not just for himself, but the First Amendment.
"It's been a real, rough time, millions of unnecessary dollars spent, the tax payers of Hillsborough County and the judiciary system, the strain. It's a victory for the Saturday Night Lives, the Glen Becks, the Rush Limbaughs, the Howard Sterns, the Cowheads," Clem told 10 News, "It's a victory for all of those people and oddly enough, MJ himself."
Todd "MJ" Schnitt has yet to comment publicly about the verdict other than through his Twitter account. He tweeted:
"I feel good that we took the high road and will always be comfortable with the fact that we did the right thing."
"My wife & I were protecting our reputations & also standing up for so many others who have been defamed, but didn't have the means to fight."
"This was never a 1st Amendment case. I love our Constitution. The 1st doesn't allow you to lie and make false and defamatory statements."
He has also retweeted negative comments from Bubba fans throughout the evening and announced on his Twitter account that he will speak for the first time on "The Schnitt Show" at 3 p.m. Thursday. He is inviting the media to call in with questions.
The trial, five years in the making, has no doubt racked up significant legal fees for both sides.
Bubba estimates he and his company have racked up nearly $2 million in legal fees. He told 10 News, "We're going to seek fees, we prevailed unanimously, they owe us our fees."
The day after his courtroom victory, the big question remained: what went on behind closed doors as the jury deliberated for about 2 and a half hours?
A gag order is preventing him from reaching out to jurors, but not from asking them to call into his show if they felt compelled.
One female juror made the call, her identity kept hidden through a voice scrambler.
"Jane Doe, we have you on protection," he told the juror on the phone line.
For about an hour, they talked about the more than two weeks of testimony and the twists and turns in the case jurors were not made aware of, including the DUI arrest of Schnitt's lead attorney, Phil Campbell.
Schnitt's legal team claims it was a set up by Bubba's legal team, asking for a mistrial which the judge has yet to rule on.
"To be honest with you, I'm in shock and awe," said the juror.
Bubba talked about his own testimony and asked, "Do you think I came across better than he did on the stand?"
"Yes," the juror responded.
He also asked her what she thought of Phil Campbell's closing arguments.
"He made some good points, but I thought closing arguments from you [Diaco] is what nailed it," she said.
She pointed out, "One of the things I thought was very important, that you had mentioned was if it's about name calling or one's opinion, especially with food critics, I can only imagine what probably would have happened because it only takes a food critic to give his opinion about a restaurant and then all of the sudden it gets published and then all of the sudden for whatever reason, their sales go down and it's all because of this food critic."
The juror also told Bubba the jury was "pretty much unanimous".
We are also learning that a parody from MJ's own radio show about his wife's tattoo swayed the jury in Bubba's favor.
"That parody and the talk about the 'tramp stamp.' I've never heard that before, that killed them. I kid you not, that actually killed them."
Toward the end of the conversation, Bubba asked the woman if she wanted him to send her some Bubba swag like t-shirts and sweatshirts.
She responded, "Hell no!"
Bubba says he'll probably spend one more day talking about the trial and then... move on. But, he doesn't plan to change after the legal challenge.