This Joke Is On Us
Friday was a big embarrassment for radio and everyone involved in the Bubba The Love Sponge vs. Todd Schnitt court case in Tampa. The day started off with audio from Bubba repeatedly and angrily calling Schnitt's wife Michelle (pictured right) a whore while she sat on the witness stand and listened. It was painful to watch the video stream, so it's hard to imagine how someone feels when they are the direct target and everyone else is listening. You have to wonder where the radio station's General Manager was when those words were being broadcast over and over again. In the afternoon, the courtroom erupted into a circus.
The afternoon session did not involve the jury because they were sent home as the judge tried to determine whether Philip Campbell's Driving Under the Influence arrest was a set-up by Bubba's lawyers and if Bubba's team got a peak at Campbell's private documents. Stick with us here.
Campbell is one of Schnitt's attorney's and was out drinking Wednesday night. Paralegal Melissa Personius (pictured left) works for Bubba's lawyers but she did not tell Campbell that when she sat down next to him and bought him drinks. Campbell somehow winds up driving Personius' car which lead to the DUI. Are you still with us? It gets better. Much better.
Another attorney, who works at the office representing Bubba and happened to have the cell number of a Tampa Police officer, because they are close friends, called to alert him that Campbell was drinking. The cops went to the restaurant, waited for Campbell and made the arrest. Guess what Personius had in her car? Campbell's briefcase full of court documents, including information about the Schnitt case. She took it to the offices of Bubba's attorney and nobody really knows whether anyone looked at the documents before they were returned to Campbell's office. If you thought we were making this up, we wouldn't blame you, but we're not.
Both Personius, another lawyer who was drinking with Campbell, the Police officer and Bubba attorney Steven Diaco were called to the stand Friday afternoon as the judge tried to determine whether he should declare a mistrial. Lawyers had lawyers whispering to them in a scene that couldn't be scripted any better in Hollywood. Bubba sat at the defense table with a completely puzzled look on his face as his lawyer, Steven Diaco (pictured right), looked annoyed at having to answer questions, then he took the 5th on several occasions. It would be comical if it wasn't so shameful that this entire episode is all because two radio guys were in a "radio war," enabled by managers who let it happen.
In the end the judge decided the defamation case will continue on Monday. He also reserved the right to declare a mistrial. Imagine being the jury for this fiasco, having spent two weeks doing your civic duty for a few dollars a day, if a mistrial is declared when it's all over. When group heads from the radio industry get up on stage at a convention and say, "We need to tell a better story," could anyone imagine this would be the story we'd be telling in 2013. Television reporters chuckle and giggle when they report on this story. Newspapers splash front page headlines that often include the word "circus" or "crazy."