Judge: 'shock jock' attorneys guilty of ethics violations
All three attorneys accused of setting up the DUI arrest of a rival attorney during the so-called 'shock jock trial' were found guilty of multiple ethics violations by the judge in their bar trial.
The written ruling released Tuesday said Steven Diaco, Robert Adams, and Adam Filthaut conspired among themselves to get rival attorney Phil Campbell arrested "solely to obtain an advantage in an ongoing high-profile jury trial" in which their firm was engaged, and then covered up or destroyed the evidence of their conspiracy.
LINK: Read the judge's ruling (PDF)
Campbell was arrested for DUI back in January of 2013 during the defamation case between Bay Area shock jocks Bubba "The Love Sponge" Clem and Todd "MJ" Schnitt. Adams and Diaco represented Clem and Campbell was representing Schnitt.
The attorneys were accused of orchestrating the setup with their paralegal, Melissa Personius, who was drinking with Campbell at Malios, and Tampa police Sgt. Raymond Fernandez, who eventually tipped off another officer about Campbell's driving.
Fernandez has since been fired.
The ruling released Tuesday said the attorneys then covered up the evidence by erasing text messages on their cell phones and by making their cell phones unavailable, and further said Diaco lied to the trial judge during the defamation case about his cell phone and information about his carrier.
The ruling also said that the attorneys deliberately failed to return Campbell's trial briefcase in a timely manner once they discovered it in Personius' car.
The judge found Diaco, Adams, and Filthaut engaged in dishonesty, deceit, and misrepresentation, among other violations during the conspiracy.
The penalty phase will begin Aug. 5. All three attorneys face punishments from fines to suspension or disbarment.