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Will Bubba vs. MJ end in mistrial? Could attorneys be disbarred?

11:16 AM, Jan 28, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Will Bubba vs. MJ end in mistrial?

Todd "M.J." Schnitt (left) and Bubba "The Love Sponge" Clem (right) appear in a Hillsborough courtroom. Schnitt has filed a defamation lawsuit, saying Clem made offensive comments about him and his wife.

 

Monday morning update: The judge again refused to grant a mistrial Monday morning, and the trial is moving forward.

WATCH: Live courtroom video of the M.J. vs. Bubba trial

TAMPA, Florida - There are many questions, and very few answers, in the Bubba vs. MJ trial.

The actual case itself has taken a backseat to the current saga that has taken a sharp right turn into soap opera land. MJ's team is accusing Bubba's team of a massive set-up after MJ's lead counsel, Phil Campbell, was arrested for DUI while drinking with a paralegal, Melissa Personiuis, from Bubba's team.  

The two met up at legendary restaurant, Malio's, in downtown Tampa. Then, Campbell got into the paralegal's car after she asked him to move it for her.

That's when he was arrested for DUI.

The question remains: was this young legal assistant used as bait to entice Campbell into drinking and then driving her car? And who called Tampa police to tip off the cops? Will this case be declared a mistrial? Could someone be disbarred?

10 News went straight to one of the biggest names in legal circles, longtime defense attorney Barry Cohen, who admits he knows both attorneys, and says this is a mess for everyone. He says it will be interesting to see what really happened the night Todd "MJ" Schnitt's attorney was busted for DUI.

Cohen says, "I think this judge will declare a mistrial, because the jury would likely find out this, and it's going to affect the credibility of the lawyers. It will affect the trial process, and now it's not about the case. It's about the credibility of the lawyers."

Cohen admits he feels badly for both teams. He says scandals like this can ruin lives and careers. "Well, it's not a good thing, and that's why I say it's so serious. It's a serious matter. You don't do this to people," he says.

If the judge does declare a mistrial, will the case be re-tried? If it is, another jury will have to be selected. And would MJ and Bubba retain the same counsel? Cohen says, in all likelihood, the Florida Bar Association will begin an independent investigation, and it's possible someone could end up disbarred.

"It takes a lifetime to build up a reputation and only a short time to tear it down, and the people who have done this, whether they did it intentionally or negligently, they did it. They shouldn't have done it, if they even did it at all," Cohen says.

Court resumes Monday morning, when the judge is expected to make a ruling. 10 News should point out that no attorneys have been disqualified.

Also, we reached out to all the key players in this case, including MJ, Bubba's attorney, Steve Diaco, Melissa Personius and her parents, and Phil Campbell himself.

No one was available for comment.

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