TAMPA - Just because the trial ended doesn’t mean the circus is over.
On Wednesday, the Bubba the Love Sponge show released dashboard camera video obtained from the Tampa Police Department showing the DUI arrest of attorney Phil Campbell, who represented Todd “MJ” Schnitt in the civil defamation case earlier this year.
The video was later independently obtained by ABC Action News. It was released as part of a public record by the Tampa Police Department.
Campbell has claimed he was set up by Bubba the Love Sponge Clem’s legal team. Campbell says a woman he was speaking with at a restaurant asked him to move her car. When he did, she called police and he was pulled over. He later learned the woman works for Adams & Diaco, who represented Clem in the trial.
In the video, an officer tells Campbell he was pulled over for cutting off another driver and he detects alcohol on his breath. Campbell admits cutting off the other driver. The officer administers a sobriety test in which Campbell has to follow the officer’s finger with his eyes.
Then, Campbell is asked to perform a walking sobriety test. Campbell claims medications he takes for blood pressure and cholesterol could affect the test.
“I’m already wobbly. I’m just saying, I’m wobbly,” Campbell said, in the dashboard camera recording.
Next, he’s asked to take an alphabet test. Campbell says he has a medical ailment that would affect that test, as well.
“I’m just telling you right now, I have a speech impediment.” Campbell said.
Campbell declines the test, and the officer arrests him for DUI. Campbell then asks the officer to let him take the test, but the officer says changing his mind at that point would be “coercion.”
Bubba’s executive producer, Brent Hatley, says the video proves the arrest was by the book and that Campbell was drunk.
“I take high blood pressure medicine, and it does not interfere with your balance at all, so that’s a lie. Number two, he doesn’t have a speech impediment,” Hatley said.
Campbell did not return our calls for comment. The office of his attorney, John Fitzgibbons, provided a statement by phone, telling ABC Action News, “We will have plenty to say about the setup arrest of Mr. Campbell and the 3-hour stakeout of Mr. Campbell by multiple officers of the Tampa Police Department, but this will come after the special state attorney appointed by the governor has completed his investigation."
We showed the video to criminal defense attorney Jeff Paulk of TampaCriminalAttorneys.com. He does not represent Campbell, but has expertise in DUI cases. He believes the video will actually help Campbell.
“He’s coherent, he makes sense when he’s answering the questions. He’s polite. It would be a video that I would want to have as a defense attorney,” Paulk said.
Paulk believes the case against Campbell is weak, mostly because of the actions of the woman who allegedly asked him to move his car and then called police.
“If the stop was unlawful, anything that came after that, including the video, would be inadmissible,” Paulk said.
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