Florida man came to local politics with this city council race marred by drugs and bribery

Jun 11, 2024

Political races for local office are normally sleepy affairs. 

But in the Sunshine State things can get wild and crazy.

And a Florida man came to local politics with this city council marred by drugs and bribery.

Palm Bay City Council race has murder, drugs, and bribery

Local elections for the city council rarely make the headlines.

But in Palm Bay, Florida, voters will have the chance to pick between a candidate who was arrested for DUI and cocaine possession, or a convicted murderer.

Former Palm Bay councilman Peter Filiberto resigned from his seat last year in a scandal.

He was arrested by police while riding his motorcycle after he ran through two stop signs in a residential neighborhood while speeding.

Filiberto tried to do a U-turn on his motorcycle but fell over.

Police smelled alcohol on him and arrested him for refusing to take a field sobriety test.

They later discovered that he was carrying 10 grams of cocaine in his sock and shoe.

Filberto resigned from his city council seat after he faced charges of DUI, drug possession, and operating a motorcycle without a license.

Now he is back running for Palm Bay City Council.

“What happened to me a little over a year ago was a sad thing, there’s no doubt about it,” Filiberto told The Floridian.

He said that he was launching a political comeback because of a 2020 bribery scandal involving a local developer and city council that resulted in three Palm Bay city officials being charged and another resigning.

“What makes me want to run again is although my arrest by Palm Bay PD was a sad day for residents of Palm Bay and me, I still am a two-term councilman who’s never been named in an FBI or bribery investigation,” Filiberto explained.

The only charge that he ended up being convicted of after his motorcycle arrest was for a DUI.

“I have support from the residents, and I think that trust mainly comes in from I haven’t been in any FBI reports,” Filiberto added.

This time around he is running for a new seat for city council because it would have a four-year term versus two in the special election for his old seat.

Convicted murderer running for office 

Michael Bruyette, one of Filiberto’s opponents for the city council seat, slammed him for running for public office again.

“This is a man who has had his chance as a councilman and destroyed the trust that our community put in him when he was arrested for possession of cocaine and other charges,” Bruyette told Fox 35 Orlando.

Bruyette served 30 years in prison after being convicted of second-degree murder in 1986.

He was involved in a scheme to murder the husband of a woman who promised him and two other men part of her husband’s $300,000 life insurance policy if they killed him.

Bruyette was eventually paroled in 2007 but he was arrested again in 2011 for threatening to kill someone in a domestic violence situation.

But he was released again in 2014 on good behavior.

Bruyette said that he would work to earn the trust of Palm Bay voters.

“I kind of regret getting involved because it cost me a lot of my life, and it cost a lot of judgment,” Bruyette said. “That’s something that I can’t put away. You’re just going to have to trust me — let me earn your trust.”

Voters in Palm Bay have the most Florida man race imaginable under way for one of their city council seats.

DeSantis Daily will keep you up-to-date on any new developments in this ongoing story.

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