Advertisement
  1. News

Tampa lawyers can be questioned about DUI setup claims

Published Nov. 18, 2014

CLEARWATER — Three Tampa lawyers accused of setting up a DUI sting to ensnare a rival will have to submit to questioning, a judge ordered on Monday.

But that does not mean the lawyers from the firm of Adams & Diaco will offer any answers.

Accused in January 2013 of engineering the arrest of an opposing lawyer during a high-profile trial, Robert Adams, Stephen Diaco and Adam Filthaut have so far refused to answer questions about the allegations against them. All three face charges from the Florida Bar of misconduct, unfairness to opposing counsel and disrupting court.

If they are found guilty, their penalty could range from an admonishment to suspension to disbarment. The last option would prohibit them from practicing law in Florida.

At a status hearing to settle a number of issues in what is now a nearly 2-year-old case, Pinellas-Pasco Senior Judge W. Douglas Baird postponed the trial from December to February. He also ordered the three lawyers to submit to depositions. Their written statement left open the possibility that after refusing to answer questions before the trial, they could surprise Bar attorneys with a last-minute decision to testify.

"The Bar feels like … this looks like some kind of weasel language that tries to have it both ways," Baird said.

Attorney Greg Kehoe, who is defending the three lawyers, called the depositions a "senseless procedure." It is too early to know whether his clients will testify, he said.

But Bar attorneys and Baird clearly don't expect to hear from the accused. At the hearing Monday, Bar attorney Jodi Thompson said she could take all three lawyers' depositions in one day.

"I bet you can take them all in 10 minutes," Baird quipped.

One possible reason for the lawyers' silence is that they remain under investigation by the FBI and a federal grand jury. If they are charged with criminal offenses, anything they say in the Bar trial could be used against them in a federal case that would put much more than their careers in jeopardy.

In January 2013, after a day in court representing radio personality Todd Schnitt in a defamation case, attorney C. Philip Campbell sat in an upscale steak house bar in downtown Tampa. A young paralegal from Adams & Diaco sat next to him, lied about where she worked, flirted and drank with him, according to witnesses.

Campbell was later arrested and charged with DUI while driving her in her car. It was later revealed there were multiple phone calls and texts that night between the paralegal, her bosses and a Tampa police DUI sergeant who pulled Campbell over.

The sergeant, a close friend of one of the Adams & Diaco lawyers, was eventually fired. The DUI charge was dropped.

Contact Anna M. Phillips at aphillips@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3354. Follow @annamphillips.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. JAMAL THALJI  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office believes the man tried to kill the woman, then shot and killed himself.
  2. Eboni Wiley, left, testifies at the trial of her ex-boyfriend Granville Ritchie who is accused of raping and killing 9-year-old Felecia Williams in 2014. Wiley led the girl to Ritchie, according to the state. Hillsborough Assistant State Attorney Jennifer Johnson, right, questions Wiley in a Hillsborough County Courtroom.Octavi OCTAVIO JONES  |  Octavio Jones
    Eboni Wiley was a friend of Felecia Williams’ family. She told jurors how she brought the girl to the man standing trial for raping and killing the 9-year-old.
  3. Students and community activists marched in Tampa last year after the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The attack killed 17 people and gave rise to Florida’s school guardian law, which this year was changed to allow classroom teachers to be armed. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the measure into law. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
    Damien Kelly, the director of the Office of Safe Schools, told lawmakers that 11 districts have said they would like the option to arm instructional staff, but it wasn’t clear if all 11 had...
  4. This Jan. 31, 2017 photo shows the entrance to SeaWorld in Orlando, Fla. JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    Gustavo “Gus” Antorcha cited a “difference of approach.”
  5. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. TMCCARTY  |  times staff
    The 15-year-old student was arrested Monday after shouting the threat out loud, according to St. Petersburg police.
  6. Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, a Republican, has asked for a City Council vote on a resolution asking congress for gun control measures. DOUGLAS CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    However, the Republican’s symbolic resolution will almost certainly fail.
  7. A homeless Vietnam War veteran in Clearwater answers questions for a Pinellas County homeless survey. A shortage of affordable housing is considered a major cause of homelessness among vets in the Tampa Bay area. [Times files]
    Local agency leaders called on members of Congress to increase national affordable housing options as a solution to veteran homelessness
  8. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. TMCCARTY  |  times staff
    The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said it is obtaining a search warrant to start looking for evidence inside the house.
  9. Josh Hensley was known for dressing as Jack Sparrow. Facebook
    Joshua Hensley, 43, was found dead Monday morning. He went missing after setting out on a paddle board Saturday.
  10. Yesterday• Pinellas
    Ele Fox, Kiwanis Club of Dunedin member, and Joe Mackin, president of the Dunedin Cares Food Pantry are pictured in front of the case of meals they received to be distributed to families in need in the Dunedin area. Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Bessette. Stephanie Bessette
    Local Kiwanis clubs supply food in service project
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement