Businessman at center of Palm Bay political scandal sentenced to 3 years in prison

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — A Brevard County businessman who was at the center of a Palm Bay political scandal will spend the next three years in prison.

Jose Aguiar took a plea deal that avoided trial and gives him 15 days credit for time served.

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Under a plea agreement, Aguiar faced up to five years in prison for his role in a Palm Bay corruption case that led to his 2019 arrest, and the arrest of a now former Palm Bay Deputy City Manager David Isnardi.

READ: Second suspect granted bond in Palm Bay extortion, racketeering case

Aguiar pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit extortion. Prosecutors said he and his co-defendant plotted to plant drugs on a city councilman. The defendants were also accused of planning to install cameras at a property known as the “clubhouse” in the hopes of catching elected officials in compromising situations.

“It’s all about control, power, kind of controlling votes on Palm Bay City Council,” Assistant State Attorney Kathryn Speicher said.

READ: Former Palm Bay official facing extortion, drug charges bonds out of jail

Aguiar’s defense attorney called witnesses that testified that his behavior changed after a 2011 car crash. Attorney Daniel Martinez said his client became addicted to prescription narcotics. Judge Michael Linn said he did take that and other factors into consideration.

“Frankly I think the people of Palm Bay need some type of closure with this case,” Linn said “This unfortunately closes a very sad chapter in the behavior of its government officials and individuals that were trying to manipulate the system. Hopefully we can all move on from this.”

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Aguiar’s attorney said he was “deeply disappointed” with Friday’s ruling.

“We felt my client should have gotten probation or some form of supervision since his codefendant only received supervision,” Martinez said.

Martinez and his client are considering an appeal.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.