Bubba the Love Sponge wants to plead the fifth at the Hogan/Gawker trial

In News by Maria Bustillos / March 14, 2016

Bubba the Love Sponge Clem (his legal name, which was changed from Todd Alan Clem) is in a bind, even if his current relations with Hulk Hogan may be quite amicable.

Though he was a named defendant in Hogan’s original 2012 suit, Clem settled with his old friend within weeks of the initial filing. As an apparent part of the settlement, Bubba broadcast an apology to Hogan on his WHPT-FM/102.5 morning show. “After further investigation,” he said on October 29, 2012, during his WHPT-FM/102.5 morning show. “I am now convinced that Hulk Hogan was unaware of the presence of the recording device in my bedroom. I am convinced he had no knowledge that he was being taped. Additionally, I am certain that he had no role in the release of the video.”

These remarks are significantly at odds with Clem’s on-air rant on October 16, 2012 — the day after Hogan filed suit against him. “There were three people in that home. All three knew what time it was,” Bubba raged. “You know I have surveillance. You knew of everything going on … But now that your feelings are hurt … you’re trying to cover your ass with your wife and your jobs and your social standing.”

Was it all a stunt?” asked the Tampa Bay Times.

It’s not against the law to lie like a rug in public; but in court, Bubba Clem will be required to decide on one of these two versions of events, while the other, widely available in public, is staring the court in the face. It is impossible, for me at least, to see how the two statements can coexist in that order in a rational mind; how can Clem have been completely convinced that Hogan “knew of everything going on,” and then later become convinced that he knew nothing? When we consider A.J. Daulerio’s testimony of Monday morning, which included his assertion that the unedited Hogan sex tape began with Bubba saying to Hogan and Heather Clem, “You go and have fun,” or words to that effect, it seems clear that Bubba is plain in the soup.

If these conjectures are correct, it is of the utmost importance that, at least for the sake of Bubba Clem, original named defendant, that he not testify in this trial. And, apparently, he won’t. But as CNN’s Tom Kludt pointed out on Twitter, Gawker has maintained in court filings that, without Bubba’s testimony, the trial should be dismissed: “If Clem’s eleventh-hour assertion of privilege were to render him completely unavailable to testify at trial,” reads a recent Gawker motion, “defendants will be deprived of evidence that is necessary to establish certain facts and is of central importance to their defenses.”

The biggest danger to Bubba comes from the FBI, according to David Bixenspan of the wrestling news site SEScoops. Bixenspan has an excellent rundown on that aspect of the matter. Most evidence relating to the FBI investigation, mounted at the instigation of Hogan and his lawyers, has been sealed. But between the filing of Hogan’s original lawsuit against Bubba and the time he settled with Hogan, Bubba likely had a chat about the tape with the FBI.

According to Bixenspan, the few redacted documents we have relating to that investigation reveal “that Mr. Clem told the FBI that Bollea knew about his surveillance cameras and knew he was being filmed during his sexual encounter with Ms. Clem … If Bubba Clem did lie to the FBI, he would, technically, be incriminating himself by testifying under oath again to the opposite scenario during the Bollea v. Gawker trial.”

Reporters returned from lunch Thursday to find all the lawyers still contending spiritedly on this point in court.

[photo: Getty]