TAMPA — The Tampa attorney accused of setting up a lawyer for a DUI arrest in January says he had no idea that lawyer was even going to Malio's Prime Steakhouse to drink.
Attorney Stephen Diaco said he never asked a paralegal to lie about where she worked or suggested she have that other lawyer, C. Philip Campbell Jr., drive her car.
Diaco's statements, written in a signed affidavit filed Monday, are the first time he has explicitly addressed several of the DUI set-up accusations. He does not address every allegation, but in those he does, he denies wrongdoing.
The affidavit comes as part of the growing investigation into Campbell's firm's allegations that Diaco's firm set up Campbell for a DUI arrest on Jan. 23, during the trial pitting radio rivals Todd "MJ" Schnitt against Bubba the Love Sponge Clem.
According to Campbell and his firm, the Adams & Diaco paralegal, Melissa Personius, lied about where she worked, bought drinks and asked Campbell — who was representing Schnitt — to drive her car.
Meanwhile, another lawyer at Adams & Diaco, which was representing Clem, called the Tampa Police Department to report a drunk man who might drive from Malio's.
Police pulled Campbell over at about 10 p.m. that night, several blocks from the restaurant. He refused to do a Breathalyzer test, and police arrested him on a DUI charge.
Personius also filed an affidavit Monday, stating that she went to Malio's that night on her own accord. She wrote that Campbell bought her drinks and that he insisted on driving.
"No one at Adams & Diaco instructed me to lie about where I worked," she wrote. And no one at the firm told her to have Campbell drive her car, she added.
Todd Schnitt and his wife have since hired a new lawyer, who wants to question everyone involved, including Malio's employees, attorneys on both sides and all law enforcement officers involved in Campbell's arrest.
The next status conference in the case is scheduled for Friday.