Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lawyer accused in 'DUI setup' says he will no longer take the Fifth

TAMPA — As accusations of attorney misconduct wind their way through court, one lawyer said Monday he is done pleading the Fifth Amendment.

The promise comes two weeks after a jury ruled in favor of Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, awarding no damages to his radio rival, Todd "MJ" Schnitt.

In a dramatic sideshow to the defamation trial, Schnitt attorney C. Philip Campbell was arrested Jan. 23 and faces a DUI charge after drinking and chatting at Malio's Prime Steakhouse with a woman who didn't disclose she was a paralegal for Adams & Diaco, the law firm representing Clem.

Tampa police pulled over Campbell about 10 p.m. that night, as he drove the paralegal's car near Malio's. Police say they had been sitting on the location after being tipped off by a lawyer at Adams & Diaco.

When police arrested Campbell, he left his trial bag — with confidential information — in the paralegal's car. It was returned the next afternoon.

When Campbell and his firm discovered this, they filed a motion for mistrial and on Jan. 25, called the paralegal and two lawyers from Adams & Diaco to testify. It's possible employees at Adams & Diaco could have gone through the trial bag, Schnitt's attorneys said. They also accused the Adams & Diaco lawyers of setting up the DUI arrest.

While testifying Jan. 25, Stephen Diaco, a partner at the firm, invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify several times and said he had forgotten his cell phone, something the opposing counsel wanted so it could pull phone records.

In a statement released by his lawyer Monday afternoon, Diaco said his attorney is no longer advising him to plead the Fifth to avoid incrimination.

"I look forward to fully cooperating and providing relevant testimony regarding the facts alleged by the Schnitts in support of the motion for a new trial," Diaco said in the statement.

His attorney, Lee Gunn, said Diaco was given short notice about the Jan. 25 hearing.

"Now, he's in the position of being able to understand what people are contending," Gunn said.

Diaco also said he took a lie detector test Friday, which concluded he did not see any documents in Campbell's briefcase.

The Florida Bar opened an investigation last week after getting a complaint about three lawyers at the Adams & Diaco firm: Diaco, Adam Filthaut and Robert Adams.

The bar would not disclose who filed the complaint. Discipline for lawyers found guilty ranges from an admonishment to disbarment.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3433.

Lawyer accused in 'DUI setup' says he will no longer take the Fifth 02/11/13 [Last modified: Monday, February 11, 2013 11:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Record $417 million awarded in lawsuit linking baby powder to cancer

    Nation

    LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles jury on Monday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $417 million to a hospitalized woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene.

    A bottle of Johnson's baby powder is displayed. On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, a Los Angeles County Superior Court spokeswoman confirmed that a jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million in a case to a woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene. [Associated Press]
  2. Search under way for missing sailors; Navy chief orders inquiry

    Military

    SINGAPORE — The U.S. Navy ordered a broad investigation Monday into the performance and readiness of the Pacific-based 7th Fleet after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker in Southeast Asian waters, leaving 10 U.S. sailors missing and others injured.

    Damage is visible as the USS John S. McCain steers toward Singapore’s naval base on Monday.
  3. Told not to look, Donald Trump looks at the solar eclipse

    National

    Of course he looked.

    Monday's solar eclipse — life-giving, eye-threatening, ostensibly apolitical — summoned the nation's First Viewer to the Truman Balcony of the White House around 2:38 p.m. Eastern time.

    The executive metaphor came quickly.

    President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump view the solar eclipse from the Truman balcony of the White House, in Washington, Aug. 21, 2017. [Al Drago | New York Times]
  4. Secret Service says it will run out of money to protect Trump and his family Sept. 30

    National

    WASHINGTON — The Secret Service said Monday that it has enough money to cover the cost of protecting President Donald Trump and his family through the end of September, but after that the agency will hit a federally mandated cap on salaries and overtime unless Congress intervenes.

    Secret service agents walk with President Donald Trump after a ceremony to welcome the 2016 NCAA Football National Champions the Clemson Tigers on the South Lawn of the White House on June 12, 2017. [Olivier Douliery | Sipa USA via TNS]
  5. After fraught debate, Trump to disclose new Afghanistan plan

    War

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will unveil his updated Afghanistan policy Monday night in a rare, prime-time address to a nation that broadly shares his pessimism about American involvement in the 16-year conflict. Although he may send a few thousand more troops, there are no signs of a major shift in …

    U.S. soldiers patrol the perimeter of a weapons cache near the U.S. military base in Bagram, Afghanistan in 2003. Sixteen years of U.S. warfare in Afghanistan have left the insurgents as strong as ever and the nation's future precarious. Facing a quagmire, President Donald Trump on Monday will outline his strategy for a country that has historically snared great powers and defied easy solutions.  [Associated Press (2003)]