Talk show host Jenny Jones returned to the witness stand Wednesday, under questioning by her own attorney in the civil suit against her show. The trial was delayed for about two hours, but it was unclear why.
The day before, Jones spent her first day of testimony being grilled by Geoffrey Fieger, attorney for the family of the man murdered after appearing on her program.
Jones said Tuesday that she cares about her guests. She denied trying to embarrass one male guest by letting another male guest tell of his sexual fantasy about him.
Scott Amedure was shot dead by an acquaintance, Jonathan Schmitz, three days after they taped an episode of Jones' show in 1995. Same-sex secret crushes was the topic of the program, during which Amedure said he was attracted to Schmitz.
The Amedure family is suing The Jenny Jones Show and its producer, Warner Bros., for $50 million. They are accusing the show of tricking a mentally troubled Schmitz into appearing, then humiliating him by telling him during the taping that Amedure was his secret admirer. The segment never aired.
Jenny Jones continues to reject claims that her talk show seeks to "ambush" guests in pursuit of higher ratings, saying she doesn't intend to embarrass those who appear.
Under questioning from Fieger, the attorney for the Amedure family, Jones said the show wasn't responsible for Amedure's death.
"I'm aware a person could be embarrassed by a sexual fantasy. I believe all people have them," Jones testified Tuesday. "I'm sure you do, Mr. Fieger."
She acknowledged her show taped the segment without having researched Schmitz's emotional background, which Fieger has said included four suicide attempts since 1989 and chronic depression.
"Would you do it again? Would you put him on the show and do what you did to him?" Fieger asked.
"I don't know," Jones replied.
Jones maintained that Schmitz showed no signs of appearing troubled, angry or humiliated about Amedure's revelation on stage. In fact, she said, audience members "were hooting, hollering and cheering for him" when he said he was heterosexual.
The guests "were all smiling, and everyone looked fine," she testified. Schmitz was not reduced to what James Feeney, a Warner Bros. attorney, called "a quivering mass incapable of handling" what Amedure revealed, Jones said.
Fieger tried to paint Jones' show as preoccupied with exploiting its guests' painful troubles for ratings, ad revenues and the "titillation" of a studio and national audience.
Not so, countered Jones. In the questioned episode, she testified, "if (audience members) were titillated at all, it was because they saw two men kissing," referring to two other guests.
Schmitz was convicted in 1996 of second-degree murder. His conviction later was overturned because of an error in jury selection. His retrial is scheduled for Aug. 19.