Seminole County

Trial to begin Wednesday for Seminole County ‘ghost candidate’ case

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — A trial is set to begin Wednesday for a man accused of trying to influence a Central Florida election.

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

Ben Paris is accused of helping put a ghost candidate on the 2020 ballot.


Paris’ trial will get underway at the Seminole County Courthouse.

Prosecutors say Paris and two others siphoned votes away from Democrats in a competitive race.

It’s connected to the 2020 race for the Florida state senate seat for District 9, which covers parts of Seminole and Volusia counties.

Watch: Third-party ghost candidate in local Senate race the focus of FDLE investigation

Republican 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, got nearly 5,800 votes.

It’s unclear if the ghost candidate changed the outcome of the race.

Read: Florida congresswoman calls on DOJ to investigate Florida utility company over ‘dark money’ claims

Two others have also been charged in connection with the scheme. Both could testify in this trial.

Paris maintains his innocence.

Channel 9 will be inside the courtroom and will provide updates on Eyewitness News.

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, and click here to watch the latest news on your Smart TV.