MJ v. Bubba: DUI set-up denied, valet makes statement | News
Tampa, Florida - Four months later, it is still the trial that keeps making headlines: MJ vs. Bubba.
A jury found in favor of Bubba the Love Sponge in the now-infamous defamation trial that took place back in January. But, it was the antics outside the courtroom that had tongues wagging.
See also: Judge furious, did lawyers behave badly?
No one will ever forget the night Phil Campbell was arrested for DUI after drinking at Malio's alongside a pretty paralegal who works for the Diaco & Adams firm. And, all of it happened in the middle of the trial.
So, was it a set-up? Did someone send Melissa Personius out to get Phil Campbell drunk?
"This was no set-up, and that she just happened to be in the bar, like Humphrey Bogart says, out of all the places, all the gin joints in the world, you had to walk into this one," said Myles Malman, a South Florida attorney who represents Diaco and his firm.
Stephen Diaco's attorney is speaking out and says quite simply, the facts in this case do not support any allegations of a set-up. Malman maintains that there was no evidence, no sworn testimony that Phil Campbell was tricked into, or forced to do anything.
"She did not ply Phil Campbell with alcohol; he drank voluntarily and on his own. There was no set-up here," Malman told 10 News.
He also said Campbell insisted that he drive, and that it wasn't because Melissa claimed she was too drunk, and asked him to.
Then, there's the valet from Malio's, Joshua Moore, who made a sworn statement in a corrected affidavit. The first affidavit was drafted by MJ Todd Schnitt's attorneys at Shumaker, Loop and Kendrick.
Moore claims he signed it, but didn't fully understand all of it.
According to documents, the valet at Malio's said in a sworn statement that he never saw Melissa Personius "do or say anything" that would get Phil Campbell to drive. He added that he saw Phil Campbell take the valet ticket on his own, and insisted on getting behind the wheel.
"I never heard her ask for him to drive," the valet said. "He loaded her up into the passenger seat."
The question remains, where does Phil Campbell stand in all this?
So far he hasn't commented, and denied a request by 10 News for an interview on this story. Meanwhile, Diaco and his team say, they wanted to set the record straight.
"What we'd really like to get across here is that the firm did not send Melissa Personius to the bar. She went there with her friend. There was no set- up here; it was Campbell insisted that he drive."
So, what about that phone call made to Tampa police DUI Sergeant Ray Fernandez with a warning that Phil Campbell was driving that night?
Diaco's attorney said there's nothing wrong with alerting an officer that a crime is taking place, and that it's not illegal.
His attorney also said that Stephen Diaco is cooperating fully with a current FBI investigation into this matter, and that Diaco's phone was seized by the FBI.
Diaco has an AV rating, the highest a lawyer can have, and has handled thousands of cases over the years. He told 10 News he has never had a grievance filed against him.
Follow 10 News Reporter Melanie Michael on twitter @WTSPMelanie
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