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Florida Bar files complaint against shock jock trial lawyers | News

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Florida Bar files complaint against shock jock trial lawyers

Tampa, Florida -- A formal complaint filed by the Florida Bar shows that even as Phil Campbell was being arrested for DUI on January 23, 2013, opposing attorneys in the high-profile shock jock trial were feverishly calling and texting each other.

In the three-and-a-half hours beforehand, the complaint's timeline also strongly suggests a conspiracy to set up Campbell, using a personal connection within the Tampa Police Department.

The complaint says Sgt. Ray Fernandez -- who has since been fired -- early on in the evening told one of the lawyers, "We didn't get him last time. We'll sit on him again," according to the report.

"It's something you wouldn't even see in a John Grisham novel," said attorney John Fitzgibbons, who represents Campbell.

Fitzgibbons says it's been the same conclusion reached by everyone who's looked at this case: the judge in the hearing; the state attorney who dismissed the Campbell's DUI charge; and now the Florida Bar. All finding that attorneys Stephen Diaco, Robert Adams and Adam Filthaut conspired to set Campbell up.


READ: Florida Bar complaints against:

Stephen Diaco

Robert Adams

Adam Fithaut

"There is not a lawyer in Florida who would want a case like this on them," said Fitzgibbons.

The Florida Bar complaint lays out a full timeline that begins with Diaco Law Firm paralegal Melissa Personius letting her bosses know Campbell is having dinner at Malio's Steakhouse. She then heads to another bar with a friend, according to the complaint, but is urged to go back to Malio's and engage Campbell. As they share drinks, she almost constantly updates her bosses, it reads, who in turn repeatedly text and call each other.

Information is then passed along to Sgt. Fernandez., according to the complaint, and ultimately Campbell is pulled over driving Personius's car.

MJ vs. Bubba the Love Spong trial

The Diaco's firm's lawyer insists there is no set up, and that the hearing will show as much.

"The events as portrayed in that document didn't happen that way," said Gregory Kehoe, the Diaco firm's defense attorney, "and that they did nothing wrong."

"I can't believe it. I could not believe it," said Jeffrey Martlew, associate dean at Cooley Law School.

Martlew, a former judge, thinks the case is likely to become a textbook example of attorney misconduct. The lawyers involved, he says, face suspension, and perhaps even permanent disbarment.

"If it's true, it's a serious, serious violation of the code of professional conduct," said Martlew.

The FBI is still conducting its own investigation into this case.

As for the Florida Bar complaint, the accused lawyers will eventually face a circuit judge, who will rule on the eight allegations of professional misconduct. Any recommended discipline, would then be forwarded to the State Supreme Court.


Adams & Diaco press release 6/10/13

Melissa Personius affidavit

The valet's sworn statement


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