Politics

Judge Orders Removal of Independent Candidate in Taylor Fraud Case

Four staffers are accused of at least 80 forged signatures on behalf of Shaun Brown

Rep. Scott Taylor, R-Va., speaks to a reporter in his office on Feb. 6, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An independent candidate in Virginia’s 2nd District should be removed from November’s ballot according to a Richmond judge who ruled that people who collected signatures for her petition to appear on the ballot, including at least four campaign staffers for Rep. Scott Taylor, committed “out and out fraud,” multiple media outlets reported Wednesday.

Shaun Brown, whom Taylor defeated in 2016, decided in March to leave the Democratic party and run as an independent after establishment party figures and organizations threw their weight behind former Navy officer Elaine Luria.

In its lawsuit, the Democratic Party of Virginia alleges the four Taylor staffers committed no less than 80 forgeries on the ballot petition sheets they submitted to the elections board just days before the deadline in June.

Taylor has said he was aware his staff was gathering signatures for Brown  but that he did not and would not condone any malfeasance.

Democrats accused him of ordering his staffers to collect signatures for Brown in order to split the Democratic vote — an allegation Taylor has denied.

Democrats also argued the petition sheets Brown herself submitted should be thrown out after she repeatedly listed three false addresses on them.

Brown will face trial in October for a separate case in which she is accused of defrauding the federal government through a children’s lunch program.

A special prosecutor is investigating the alleged forgeries.

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