Tampa, Florida -- They are the images attorney Phil Campbell probably never wanted you to see. Tampa police dash cam video from the night the Tampa lawyer was busted for DUI.
All of ittook place this past Januaryright in the middle of the bigMJ Schnitt/Bubba "The Love Sponge" Clem shock-jock trial.
At the time, Campbell called his arrest a conspiracy, and claimed he'd beenset-up.
So what does the video show?
Well, it is not the smoking gun that proves some sort of conspiracy to set Phil Campbell up. Nor does it disprove that allegation.
"You've got a very distinct odor of alcohol beverage coming from your breath," says Tampa Police Sgt. TimMcGuinessas the camera begins its 11-minute documentation of the stop.
What the dash cam video shows is Phil Campbell trying to convince McGuinessto cut him some slack.
Campbell tries to explain that he wasn't even driving his own car the night he leftMalio'sPrime Steakhouse.
"I was just trying to help this lady," he tells him.
That "lady", we now know, was30-year-old MelissaPersonius.
Never seen during the DUI video,Personius,a legal assistant for the opposing law firm, repeatedly declined to address accusations she'd played a role in setting Campbell up.
"Did Mr.Diacoinstruct you to buy any drinks for Mr. Campbell that evening?"
"I invoke my right to the 5th amendment,"Personiusanswered under questioning.
The officer who made the initial stop, Sgt. RaymondFernandez, did testify he'd gotten a tip from someone inside theDiacolaw firm, the firm representing Bubba the Love Sponge Clem in during the shock jock civil case.
"Uh, gave me the name, the description of a car. Was atMalio's. He was drinking,"Fernandeztestified.
During the videotapedexchange, Campbell tells Sgt. McGuiness about all the issues that may effect his DUI test. He tells the officer he's old. He says he's takingmedication for high blood pressure and cholesterol. He also saysspeaking issues could lead him to mispronounce his alphabet or even stutter.
"I'm just telling you, right now, I have a speech impediment."
"Oh, do you?" asks the officer. "What do you do for a living?"
"We're not going there," answers Campbell.
During none of the video, even after officerMcGuinessinforms Campbell he's placing him under arrest, does Campbell express concern about the legal briefs he'd left in the back seat ofPersonius'scar.Briefs with legal strategies and other sensitive document related to his clients, theSchnitts.
Later, however,the briefcase became the target of conspiracy allegations and demands for a mistrial.
Campbell does finally tell Sgt.McGuinesshe's a lawyer.
"And I'm in the middle of a big trial. Okay. And I've got to show up tomorrow morning," he tells the officer.
But Campbell's big concern, as it becomes clear officerMcGuniesswill cut him no slack, is not for woman he'd offered to do a favor.Nor, does he mention the sensitive legal papers in the back seat of her car.
As he's loaded into the back of aTPDcruiser, Campbellseems most concerned that one day the video of what was taking placewould be published.
And now it has been.
"This is going to be on television, please!" says Campbell.
"I can't help that, sir," answers Sgt.McGuiness.
"Oh my Lord," Campbell says.
The briefcase was returned the next day, apparentlywith nothing out of order.
There was no mistrial declared, but theSchnittslater went on to fire Campbell as their attorney.
Theshock-jock case ended with a victory for Bubba the Love Sponge Clem,but the DUIcase it spawned is now in the hands of Pinellas County prosecutors, who've taken it over due to a conflict of interest with Hillsborough prosecutor MarkOber, who was called to testify during the shock-jock trial.
There's no word on whether Campbell's DUIcase will go trial, but if it does, it may re-open the questions of conspiracy still left unanswered by the video released today.
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