What a bizarre story. In what is a high-profile trial locally in Tampa, a “shock jock” named M.J. Schnitts is suing another jock who calls himself “Bubba the Love Sponge” Clem for libel. In the midst of the trial, Schnitts’ lawyer, Charles Phil Campbell was arrested for a DUI — his second offense within five years. The news clip above has the story of the arrest.
When I first saw this story, I was stunned that an attorney in the midst of a trial could be so reckless, and I began thinking of writing a few blog posts just on that subject. I also was thinking about writing about the reaction of the defense attorney, who went public with his displeasure that the judge was suspending the trial for one day immediately after the arrest — because now his opponent was getting additional time to rest and prepare his case.
But then I saw the follow-up. Now Schnitts’ legal team is seeking a mistrial, claiming that Campbell was set up by opposing counsel and/or his paralegal — it turns out that Campbell was drinking with his opponent’s young female paralegal, she asked him to drive her home in her car (because she was too drunk), and after the arrest, she ended up in possession of his briefcase. Oh, and by the way, why was Campbell stopped? One of Bubba’s attorney’s called a relative of his on the local DUI task force with a tip that Campbell was intoxicated and was about to leave the bar. In response to the Motion for a Mistrial, Bubba the Love Sponge’s defense team responded that the accusation of that they set-up Campbell was outrageous and they demanded a retraction; yet their paralegal claimed her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, which makes me wonder what she was trying to hide. The judge is now considering the motion.
Here is the local news story about this development:
Note: I have just updated this post with new information provided to me by Tampa, FL attorney Matthew Dolman. Here is a link to another news story, suggesting that the attorneys involved may be facing professional discipline for their conduct.
I will be writing more about this throughout the week.