MJ fires back at reporter Melanie Michael live | News
Tampa, Florida - It was considered the big "get" by local media on Thursday - finding MJ, also known as Todd Schnitt.
Both print and television crews were scrambling all over Tampa trying to find the evasive, longtime radio host heard in syndication all over the country.
It was the day after one of the biggest verdicts in Tampa Bay trial history - MJ versus Bubba.
MJ filed a defamation lawsuit against rival radio host, nationally syndicated Bubba the Love Sponge Clem. After nearly three weeks of a grueling and drama-filled trial in Hillsborough County court, a verdict came down late Wednesday afternoon.
MJ and his attorneys were looking for damages of $18,000 to pay for their South Tampa home security system that they claimed they needed to protect themselves against the "Bubba Army," a large group of loyal listeners.
In addition, Schnitt said he was looking for additional damages that the jury might have awarded. In fact, he begged jurors for monetary damages in court, asking the men and women for compensation to make up for his "humiliation over the years."
Instead, he got nothing. Jurors didn't buy his story at all. One called MJ a "cry-baby." One even told MJ to "put his big girl panties on and get over it."
After the bombshell Bubba verdict, MJ left through a back door, refusing to speak with reporters at all.
Starting Thursday morning, 10 News reached out in a variety of ways - Twitter, email and by phone. Reporters scoured the city. Finally, halfway through the day, MJ tweeted an invitation to all local credentialed media. He invited all reporters and photographers to a live news conference on The Schnitt Show on WFLA-970am.
In attendance were all local affiliates, Bay News 9 and newspapers.
MJ started his show by saying, "Today begins a new, normal schedule for me, as my court case is
With a deep sigh, he looked down and said, "The jury decided, and we lost the case. I'm disappointed in the verdict. I've had better days."
During post-trial interviews, Bubba and his attorneys maintained that this "historic" verdict protects free speech, in addition to First
"It's a great day for the First Amendment and this country. We thank these fine men and women, these jurors, for their service," said longtime defense attorney Jay Diaco.
However, MJ didn't see it that way.
"You can not maliciously lie about somebody in order to destroy a career. I feel badly for my wife," MJ told his listeners.
In fact, he added, "I expect there to be more victims."
The tension during today's news conference began when questions were raised from viewers on Twitter who wanted to know why MJ didn't consider his wife a public figure, and why he cried in court. When asked about the First Amendment, he shot back.
"Don't even go there. It has nothing to do with that," he remarked. "Because you can't maliciously lie about somebody."
MJ appeared to be angry and flustered at the questions posed.
He also claimed that he has been verbally assaulted on Twitter. However, according to MJ's Twitter account, he has chosen to retweet those aforementioned messages, many extremely vulgar and detailed, including references to body parts.
"Look at what I'm dealing with," he implored to reporters. "I fought for my family, and I'd do this again."
When asked why he would do it again, even though it was one of the most painful experiences ever, he said, "I will protect my wife and children. Our reputation is all we have."
Follow 10 News Reporter Melanie Michael on twitter @WTSPMelanie
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