TAMPA, Florida -- The 10 News Investigators have discovered Tampa DUI supervisor Sgt. Ray Fernandez, who initiated a DUI arrest of attorney Phil Campbell during the Bubba the Love Sponge vs. MJ shock jock trial, lied to police chief Jane Castor.
Campbell, defended Todd "MJ" Schnitt in the trial, was set up by his opposing attorneys, according to an investigation by the Pinellas State Attorney's Office.
Fernandez got his information regarding allegations of Campbell driving drunk from one of the lawyers defending Bubba. And when Fernandez got caught he tried to downplay the incident to Chief Jane Castor.
Castor said, "Some of the information that has come to light has been a great disappointment to me."
Now, we are learning that Tampa Police Sgt. Ray Fernandez, who is at the center of this controversy, is the one who lied to the police chief.
Castor said, "I was told in the beginning of this investigation there were a few text between Sgt. Fernandez and the tipster in this case."
Tampa Police confirmed Monday it was Fernandez who personally told the chief there were only a few texts and lied about it. In fact, he exchanged 92 text messages with his son's godfather, an attorney in the firm representing Bubba the Love Sponge. Phil Campbell was the opposing lawyer in the case.
According to Castor, "To say that I was disappointed that number totaled 92 would be an understatement."
Documents released by the Pinellas State Attorney's Office show Fernandez received information from his close friend more than a month before the arrest, alleging Campbell "gets drunk all the time, goes to Malia's, and drives home." At that point, Fernandez started tracking Campbell.
Campbell's attorney, John Fitzgibbons, said, "The conduct of the police involved, and the lawyers from the Adams and Diaco law firm, was despicable."
Fitzgibbons said the attorneys involved should be disbarred and Fernandez should be disciplined immediately. However, the chief is not ready to take action.
Castor said, "Sgt. Fernandez deserves and will get due process just like any other police officer or citizen we serve."