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Bar investigation alleges set-up in Phil Campbell arrest | News

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Bar investigation alleges set-up in Phil Campbell arrest

Tampa, Florida -- The Florida Bar has released its investigation into allegations of misconduct against a competing attorney during the Bubba the Love Sponge Clem versus Todd "MJ" Schnitt trial last year.

"I think what happened to Mr. Campbell here is probably the worst conduct I have ever seen by a group of lawyers and the people who are involved in setting him up," said attorney John Fitzgibbons.

Fitzgibbons represents Phil Campbell following his arrest on DUI charges last year and claims his clients arrest was a set-up.


The players who are involved are Stephen Diaco, Robert Adams and Adam Filthaut, who represent Bubba the Love Sponge and their paralegal Melissa Personius.

READ: Florida Bar complaints against:

Stephen Diaco

Robert Adams

Adam Fithaut

According to the investigation, they plotted to have Schnitt attorney Phil Campbell arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

Personious ran into Campbell at Malio's restaurant in downtown Tampa and was described by witnesses as "overly flirtatious" during the Jan. 23, 2013 encounter.

While both drank, Personious allegedly relayed what was happening inside the restaurant to her bosses, Steve Diaco and Robert Adams. Adams reportedly updated fellow law partner Adam Filthault, who gave updates to Sgt. Ray Fernandez with the Tampa Police Department. Fernandez was allegedly waiting to nab Campbell on possible DUI charges after failing to do so the month prior.

As the night wrapped, the reports states, Campbell advises Personious not to drive.

The Schnitt attorney reportedly even offered to pay for her cab, but she insisted that she needed her car and convinces Campbell to drive. During that time, he is pulled over and charged with driving under the influence, but the arrest report never details that Personious was in the passenger seat when Campbell was pulled over.

Despite the detailed Florida Bar investigation, the attorney who represents the Adams, Diaco and Filthaut insists that allegations are now true.

"At the end of the day when it goes in front of the referee and the referee hears all the evidence, I'm confident that my clients will be vindicated," said Greg Kehoe.

The bar investigation's detailed text messages and phone calls between Personious, Adams, Diaco, Filthault and Fernandez could cost the attorneys, if true.

"A reprimand, to a suspension, to permanent disbarment," saud Jeffrey L. Martlew, associate dean at Cooley Law School.

DUI charges were later dropped against Campbell.


Adams & Diaco press release 6/10/13

Melissa Personius affidavit

The valet's sworn statement


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