Florida radio “shock-jocks”, “Bubba the Love Sponge” Clem and Todd “MJ” Schnitt were engaged in an ugly defamation lawsuit, a case that spun out for five years, culminating in a tough-fought court battle that ended with Bubba declaring himself the victor. But the conflict between the two radio DJ’s took a back seat to the drama that unfolded when MJ’s lawyer, C. Phillip Campbell Jr., was busted for drunk driving in the middle of the trial.
Lawyer Campbell apparently got under the skin of Bubba’s lawyers at Adams & Diaco, so much so they repeatedly brought motions before the trial judge to have him removed as MJ’s counsel, with zero success. But according to Mr. Campbell’s DUI lawyer and the prosecuting attorney, Adams & Diaco found another way to get back at their courtroom adversary.
After court Mr. Campbell walked from his office/apartment to Tampa’s Malio’s Prime Steakhouse two blocks away. An attractive paralegal in the employ of Adams & Diaco was in the restaurant and saw Campbell. She quickly contacted her bosses and asked if she “there was anything she should do?” Following instructions Melissa Personious began a flirtation with Mr. Campbell, lying about who she worked for, and buying him drinks. Campbell wasn’t driving and enjoyed a few drinks.
Shortly after Campbell and Personious connected, lawyer Adam Filthaut from Adams & Diaco called a police officer friend who sat outside the restaurant for three hours waiting for Campbell to leave. Unfortunately, Campbell ended up driving Ms. Personious home in her vehicle, but was stopped and charged with DUI within the first five blocks. He refused to take a breathalyzer.
Notably, at the time Adams & Diaco contacted the police Campbell was stone-cold sober and upon his arrest there was no evidence he was over the limit for alcohol consumption.
During the investigation it became apparent that Ms. Personious was in constant contact with her employers, sending and receiving over 200 text messages and phone calls.
Eventually the charges against Mr. Campbell were dropped, the prosecutors comments included words like “collaboration” and “organized effort”. They said the intense communication between the paralegal and Adams & Diaco was “jaw-dropping”.
Campbell’s lawyer, John Fitzgibbons said:
“It is now absolutely clear that Mr. Campbell was the victim of a devious setup, And all honest and ethical police officers and lawyers should be deeply troubled over what happened.”
Meanwhile, Bubba tweeted:
“This setup nonsense has nothing to do with me or the fact that a jury of my peers found in my favor vs Todd Schnitt. This was just another weak attempt from the losers to justify why they got their a– kicked in court by me/jay diaco.”
Thankfully Adams & Diaco’s “dirty tricks” were the subject of discipline proceedings. Last month Stephen Diaco was disbarred with a stipulation that he could not apply for re-entry into the Florida bar for five years, and would have to retake the bar exam.
Robert Adams and Adam Filthaut entered conditional consent guilty pleas that would impose upon each lawyer a 91-day suspension and requirement to attend ethics school.
The Florida Bar’s Creed of Professionalism includes the following:
“I will strictly adhere to the spirit as well as the letter of my profession’s code of ethics, to the extent that the law permits and will at all times be guided by a fundamental sense of honor, integrity, and fair play.”
Lawyers like these need to be ferreted out of the profession.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang