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Clem, at right, with attorney Diaco at his 2013 trial. (AP pool photo)

Influence

‘Love Sponge’ lawyers plead to keep law licenses

Two Florida lawyers accused of orchestrating the arrest of a rival attorney are asking the state’s Supreme Court not to disbar them for good.

Robert Adams and Adam Filthaut of Tampa are requesting disbarment with an opportunity for reinstatement in five years. Their attorneys gave oral argument in the matter Thursday.

Pinellas County Judge W. Douglas Baird has recommended permanent disbarment.

A third attorney involved, Stephen Diaco, already has been permanently disbarred.

They were partners in a firm that represented radio personality Bubba “the Love Sponge” Clem in a slander suit brought by another radio personality, Todd “MJ” Schnitt.

During the trial in 2013, Schnitt lawyer C. Phillip Campbell was arrested on a DUI charge. Reports later surfaced that Adams, Filthaut and Diaco conspired to set up Campbell to get arrested.

They allegedly encouraged their female paralegal to go undercover and drink with Campbell at a downtown Tampa bar.

Afterward, Campbell was caught in a police DUI stakeout set up through a Tampa police sergeant who was friends with one of the attorneys, according to reports.

Schnitt eventually lost the case. All three lawyers denied the accusations.

“It could be we’ve never seen a case this bad,” Justice R. Fred Lewis said.

There was no timeline for when the court would make a decision.


The Associated Press contributed to this report, republished with permission.

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