Judge over Bubba vs. MJ recalls DUI setup scandal, Part II

Gloria Gomez reports

- Retired Hillsborough Circuit Judge James Arnold says the problem was so appalling and egregious, he had no choice but to notify the Florida Bar.

"I, or any other judge that I've talked to, have never heard anything like this happening so were all sort of shocked by it, " said Arnold.

He was shocked to discover three Tampa attorneys, Stephen Diaco, Robert Adams and Adam Filthaut, orchestrated the arrest of courtroom rival Phil Campbell.

"I'd even considered criminal contempt of court, but unfortunate judges don't have investigative power," explained Arnold.

LINK: Part I of interview with Judge Arnold

They used their legal assistant, Melissa Personius and Tampa police DUI Sergeant Ray Fernandez to help pull it off.

A special prosecutor cleared Campbell. Now, the three attorneys faced a bar trial and Judge Douglas Baird wasn't putting up with shenanigans.

"This looks like some kind of weasel language that tries to have it both ways," said Baird during the bar hearing.

Like a broken record, Diaco, Personius and Filthaut took the 5th. Robert Adams called his involvement a big mistake.

It turns out, the lawyers, Personious and Fernanzez were texting each other throughout the night. But hundreds of texts between them were all erased.

Judge Arnold says the cover up was apparent.

"I haven't found the first lawyer that didn't say that they needed to be disbarred, " said Arnold.

Judge Baird agreed, finding all three guilty of maliciously and deliberately setting up Campbell's arrest. He recommended disbarrment, but the State Supreme Court had the final say. The fallout was severe.

All three attorneys were permanently disbarred an d Fernandez was fired.

"It's sad that it happened, but I agree with the consequences, with the officer being fired and the attorneys losing their license to practice law," said Judge Arnold.

When asked about his thought on Stephen Diaco, Judge Arnold at first hesitated to answer and added, "he brought shame and disrespect upon himself, his family and our profession."

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