After a day of accusations involving alcohol, a paralegal and what one side called a "setup," a judge decided to let the radio shock jock trial involving Todd "MJ" Schnitt and Bubba the Love Sponge Clem continue.
Schnitt's attorney Jon Ellis started the day asking for a mistrial, saying the other side was behind a scheme that led to the DUI arrest of this week of Phil Campbell, another Schnitt attorney. Ellis said a paralegal for the law firm Adams & Diaco, which represents Bubba, was there the night Campbell was arrested and ended up with his briefcase full of trial documents in her car.
"She lied to Mr. Campbell or me when we asked her where she worked, she bought him drinks, she specifically, we believe, asked him to move her car," Ellis said.
The paralegal, 30-year-old Melissa Personius, took the stand Friday afternoon and invoked her Fifth Amendment right multiple times, choosing not to answer questions about what happened that night at Tampa restaurant Malio's and whether anyone asked her to buy drinks for Campbell.
Campbell was arrested the night of Jan. 23 after an officer said he violated another car's right of way. The officer wrote in a report that Campbell had "red/glassy eyes with a distinct odor of an alcoholic beverage," and that Campbell declined to perform field sobriety tests.
As one of the witnesses called to sort out the allegations, a Tampa Police officer testified that a friend who is an attorney at the firm Adams & Diaco called him Wednesday about Campbell drinking at Malio's – and that it wasn't the first time he'd gotten such a call.
"What he told me was this guy goes to Malio's and he drinks and he drives home," said Sgt. Raymond Fernandez.
Personius did answer questions involving Campbell's briefcase, saying she never opened it and that she called her boss to tell him she had it. Personius said an associate from the firm she worked for came to pick it up, but then brought it back an hour later and she was instructed to return it to Campbell's law firm.
Judge James Arnold did not declare a mistrial on Friday but reserved a ruling, saying he wanted to do more research and get more records. Earlier in the day, the allegations prompted him to send the jury home early and hear testimony on the new allegations involving Campbell's arrest.
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