Advertisement
  1. News

Todd 'MJ Kelli' Schnitt's lawyer arrested on drunk driving charge in Tampa

Attorney Charles Philip Campbell Jr., representing Todd Schnitt, points at Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, lower right, during opening statements in Schnitt’s defamation lawsuit trial Jan. 16.
Attorney Charles Philip Campbell Jr., representing Todd Schnitt, points at Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, lower right, during opening statements in Schnitt’s defamation lawsuit trial Jan. 16.
Published Jan. 26, 2013

TAMPA — The news of the day should have been about Michelle Schnitt taking the witness stand in a defamation trial, where she would testify about life as the wife of a shock jock at war.

Instead Thursday, the spotlight turned to her attorney, released from jail that morning, charged with driving under the influence.

Charles Philip Campbell Jr., 64, was pulled over near Cass and Tampa streets just before 10 p.m. Wednesday after Tampa police said he violated another driver's right of way. His eyes were glassy, police said, and he smelled of alcohol. He refused to perform field sobriety exercises or have his blood alcohol level taken.

He was booked at the Hillsborough County jail and released on $500 bail at 6 a.m.

"This is going to be a rough day," he said at 8:30 a.m., as he walked into the courtroom. Cameras had followed him down the sidewalk outside.

Lawyers huddled with each other, then with the judge.

Circuit Judge James D. Arnold announced there would be no testimony, and that attorneys would work on jury instructions instead. Jurors were sent home. If they obey the judge's order not to take in trial publicity, they will not learn about the arrest.

But even without this sideshow, the trial that started last week has been a spectacle. Jurors have learned about Bubba the Love Sponge Clem and the fans of his radio show who call themselves his "army."

They've met his on-air rival Todd "MJ Kelli" Schnitt, a shock jock himself who sued Clem for making "false, highly offensive and defamatory statements" about him and his wife.

They've heard witnesses ponder the many meanings of the word "whore" and the many intentions behind an expressed death wish. And they've watched the top prosecutor in the county testify about the for-entertainment slaughter of a wild boar.

Campbell asked a lot of questions in previous days. But as he left the courtroom Thursday, he declined a reporter's request for comment.

His law firm, Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, later released this statement:

"The DUI charge against attorney Phil Campbell is certainly a serious matter. We have a high level of respect for law enforcement and the legal process. However, this development has nothing to do with Mr. and Mrs. Schnitt or their current defamation trial. We will continue to advocate for Mr. and Mrs. Schnitt's rights and have the utmost confidence in Mr. Campbell and our entire legal team as they continue to provide high-level legal counsel in this case."

His opposing counsel had no problem chiming in about Campbell's arrest.

"The whole thing makes me ashamed to be an attorney," said Stephen Diaco, representing Bubba the Love Sponge Clem.

Diaco said Clem's lawyers were preparing for testimony all night, "and now, we're delayed because Phil Campbell was getting his drink on and decided to drink and drive again."

Campbell was, in fact, arrested on a DUI charge in 2008, records show. His blood alcohol level taken at the scene was nearly double the state limit of .08.Records show he pleaded no contest and was found guilty.

As Schnitt left the courtroom, Diaco called out to him.

"MJ!" he said. "Happy birthday!"

Yes, it really was his birthday.

Alexandra Zayas can be reached at azayas@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3354.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

  1. Hyde House in Hyde Park Village on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 in Tampa.  [MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times]
  2. FILE - In this Dec. 16, 2019, file photo, Disney CEO Robert Iger arrives at the world premiere of "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker", in Los Angeles  The Walt Disney Co. has named Bob Chapek CEO, replacing Bob Iger, effective immediately, the company announced Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020.  (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, FIle) [JORDAN STRAUSS  |  Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP]
  3. 7/6/01 Coleman, Fl.   Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Coleman, Fl. in Sumter County. The prison's women's camp has confirmed cases of Legionnaires' disease [CLIFF MCBRIDE  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  4. U.S. Rep. Ross Spano, R- Dover, recently repeated the defense he’s offered since his 2018 election over illegal contributions to his campaign. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Times (2017)]
  5. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. [TMCCARTY  |  times staff]
  6. Ryan Lotito Sr., left, of Spring Hill pitches to his son Ryan Lotito Jr. to work on his swing techniques at the Anderson Snow Sports Complex in Spring Hill.
  7. Two firms have acquired majority ownership of Univision Communications Inc., the largest provider of Spanish-language television in the U.S. [Miami Herald]
  8. Tourists take pictures of the Olympics rings Monday, in the Odaiba section of Tokyo. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) [JAE C. HONG  |  AP]
  9. In this June 17, 2019, file photo, a cashier displays a packet of tobacco-flavored Juul pods at a store in San Francisco. Investigators from 39 states will look into the marketing and sales of vaping products by Juul Labs, including whether the company targeted youths and made misleading claims about nicotine content in its devices, officials announced Tuesday. Juul released a statement saying it has halted television, print and digital advertising and eliminated most flavors in response to concerns by government officials and others.  (AP Photo/Samantha Maldonado, File) [SAMANTHA MALDONADO  |  AP]
  10. Residents at Tampa Park Apartments have been told they must move out by Nov. 1 because the 21-acre property between downtown Tampa and Ybor City has been sold. [JAMES BORCHUCK  |  Times]
  11. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
  12. More than 100 people turned out Jan. 15, 2019, to give the Pasco County School Board their thoughts on the district's policy and procedures for transgender student rights. [JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK  |  Times]
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement