Jury sent home after closing arguments in MJ trial

- Todd "MJ" Schnitt's defamation lawsuit against his radio rival Bubba the Love Sponge three years ago ended badly for the Schnitts.

They lost the case and owned nearly a million dollars in legal fees, but the Schnitts refused to pay their attorneys.

Now, the law firm Shumaker, Loop and Kendrick wants their money and are taking them to court.

Joe Varner, attorney for Shumaker told the jury during closing arguments the Schnitts were determined to take Bubba to court., no matter what.

"Our case - simple and straight forward. You hired us, you agreed to pay us," said Varner. 

The firm says the Schnitts had an ax to grind with Bubba after he called Michelle derogatory names on the his radio show.

During the defamation trial, the firm's lead attorney, Phil Campbell was arrested for a DUI, and it was discovered the arrest was a setup orchestrated by some of Bubba's attorneys.

The Schnitts, according to the firm, wanted the scheme investigated and exposed at any cost.

"You could have quit any time. You made the decision as grown-ups to keep going, even as the cost increased. You asked for more and more work," said Varner.

Varner says the Schnitts also wanted dirt on Bubba and hired a private investigator to look into a tip involving him and a prostitute. Varner says, however, there was never any connection between Bubba and a prostitute.

In the end, Varner says, the Schnitts lost the defamation lawsuit and are sore losers who don't want to pay their bills.

The Schnitts are counter suing, saying the defamation case should have never been filed because it was unwinnable. They blame their former attorney, Phil Campbell for bad advice and misleading them on their chances of winning.

During closing arguments Thursday, Thomas Roebig suggested Campbell's actions resorted to legal malpractice.

Roebig said Campbell had a responsibility to tell the Schnitts the pitfalls to suing a Bubba.

"Bubba Clem is going to eat this up like ice cream when you file this suit, like mama said, 'never wrestle with a pig. Everybody gets dirty,' and the pig loves it. You gotta counsel people about what's coming next," said Roebig.

The Schnitts paid nearly a million dollars in legal fees already, and now what a refund.

 After deliberating for nearly five hours, the jury was sent home without making a decision. They will begin deliberations Friday morning.

Up Next:

Up Next

  • Jury sent home after closing arguments in MJ trial
  • Small plane crashes near airpark in Clearwater
  • 'We are heavily armed,' Tampa church warns
  • FHP joins hunt for Seminole Heights killer
  • USF freshman wide receiver accused of rape on campus
  • Police horse in St. Pete paints masterpieces during downtime
  • 2 teens in serious condition after crashing stolen car
  • Silver alert issued for missing Largo man
  • Longtime country singer, songwriter Mel Tillis dies
  • Seminole Heights shooting victim Ronnie Felton honored through charity