Joel Greenberg talks ‘ghost candidate’ plan in jailhouse interview: Read the transcript

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — For the first time, we’re hearing details about what former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg is telling investigators as he waits to be sentenced on federal charges.

Greenberg pleaded guilty to a handful of charges including sex trafficking a minor.


And while that case goes through the court system, Greenberg is working with prosecutors in other high-profile cases.

One of those cases involved the ghost candidate scheme in the 9th District state Senate race in 2020.

Read: Jury returns guilty verdict in ‘ghost candidate’ case against GOP leader in Seminole County

Republican Sen. Jason Brodeur defeated Democrat Patricia Sigman in that race by more than 7,600 votes. A third party ghost candidate, Jestine Iannotti, who didn’t campaign, received nearly 5,800 votes.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement launched an investigation into the race in July of 2021. In May, the state attorney’s office said that investigation led to charges against political consultant Eric Foglesong, Jestine Iannotti and Ben Paris.

Watch: Woman accused in Seminole County ‘ghost candidate’ investigation takes the stand

Paris was convicted on campaign finance violations on Thursday.

Greenberg told investigators in a jailhouse interview that Brodeur was aware of the plan to run a ghost candidate in his race.

According to a 119-page transcript from the June 23 jailhouse interview, Greenberg told investigators Brodeur was present along with Ben Paris during conversations about running a third-party candidate.

Greenberg said he didn’t know if Brodeur knew specifics about the plan.

Watch: 3 charged in connection with 2020 state Senate race ‘ghost candidate’ controversy

Brodeur has denied knowing anything about the scheme and has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

Channel 9 reached out to Brodeur by email and phone on Friday to get his side of the story, but so far, he has not responded.

Meanwhile, Brodeur’s opponent in the November election is calling for him to resign immediately in light of the release of the transcript.

Read the transcript below:

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Jeff Levkulich

Jeff Levkulich, WFTV.com

Jeff Levkulich joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in June 2015.

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.