Lawyers in radio DJ trial head to mediation - WFLA News Channel 8

Lawyers in radio DJ trial head to mediation

Posted: Updated:
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

A judge sent lawyers for Bubba "The Love Sponge" Clem and Todd "MJ" Schnitt into mediation on Friday and demanded answers in the legal drama involving a DUI, a paralegal and a briefcase.

The defamation lawsuit Schnitt filed against Clem went to trial in January and a jury found in favor of Clem. But now Schnitt wants a new trial, citing the drama surrounding one of his attorneys during the trial.

Phil Campbell was arrested on a DUI charge the night of January 23. His colleagues claimed it was a set-up, because Campbell, an attorney for Schnitt, was with a paralegal for lawyers representing Clem at Tampa restaurant Malio's that night. Campbell was driving her car and she ended up with his briefcase.

In a recently filed affidavit, paralegal Melissa Personius said no one with the law firm she works for instructed her to have Campbell drive her car that night or to get into a vehicle with him. But the judge said Friday that the affidavits filed about that night – January 23 – were "lacking a lot."

"There's too many unanswered questions," Judge James Arnold said. "I want to know what happened."

Arnold sent both sides into mediation but also asked for a list of individuals who would be questioned in depositions. If mediation isn't successful, the judge could hold an evidentiary hearing or just hear arguments from the attorneys on the motion for a new trial. That could happen April 22, he said.

Outside the courthouse after the status conference with the judge, an attorney for Schnitt said his clients want a new trial but also want to know what happened.

"Before we go any further we need the truth to come out," Schnitt attorney Wil Florin said.

Clem attorney Joseph Diaco said he's confident nothing that was done was illegal or unethical and he wants to preserve the jury's verdict.

"Not a single thing that allegedly happened affected the jury," Diaco said.

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