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Setting Up Another Attorney Will Get You Enemies and May Get You Disbarred
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Diaco DUI case

Summary: Adams & Diaco partner Stephen Diaco orchestrated a setup to get the attorney on the other side of a multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit arrested for DUI.

After the evidence had been uncovered, the Florida Bar decided that they wished for Stephen Diaco, a partner at Adams & Diaco, to be permanently disbarred for his actions. Diaco’s two colleagues received a lighter recommendation of temporary disbarment with the chance to reapply after five years for their license. Pinellas Senior Judge W. Douglas Baird has until the end of the month to decide and then the Supreme Court can also give approval.


The lawyers Diaco, Robert Adams, and Adam Filthaut were representing Bubba the Love Sponge Clem against his radio rival Todd “MJ” Schnitt in what was to be a multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit. Schnitt was represented by C. Philip Campbell.

In hopes to gain an edge in the case, Filthaut notified his friend Sgt. Ray Hernandez of the Tampa police to keep a look out for Campbell. The three lawyers also told one of their paralegals, Melissa Personius, to keep an eye out for him, especially if he was drinking. Months later, Personius came across Campbell at a steak house bar where he was having drinks with friends.

Campbell testified that he had planned to walk home, since he had walked there to begin with. Personius engaged Campbell with flirting and heavy drinking. Witnesses testified that they thought it was odd that a woman around 30 years younger than him would target him at a bar. When it came time to leave, Campbell got into the driver’s seat of her car and was immediately arrested for DUI by Fernandez.

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An internal investigation led to Fernandez being fired and Campbell’s DUI charge being dropped. Cell phone records showed that Personius had been in constant communication with the three lawyers and that Filthaut had called Fernandez.

The Bar called Diaco’s actions “malicious and for personal gain” that “tarnished the reputation of the legal profession and the Tampa Police Department.” Diaco not only lied to a judge but his actions interrupted a trial.

Filthaut believes that he deserves a lighter punishment than his two colleagues even though he is the one to blame for a cop losing his job. Adams asked for a 91-day suspension. Diaco’s attorney used his previous charitable giving and the apology for his actions as a reason for a lesser sentence.


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