JUDGE FINDS "OUT-AND-OUT FRAUD" BY SCOTT TAYLOR'S STAFF; CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION ONGOING
In a ruling with potentially serious ramifications for the re-election campaign of Rep. Scott Taylor, R-2nd, a judge on Wednesday found “out-and-out fraud” in signatures Taylor’s campaign staff gathered to help get an independent spoiler candidate on the ballot.
“I’m buying almost all of what you all are selling,” the judge told the Democratic Party lawyers when he ruled. He said he found evidence of forgery, uttering, perjury and “out-and-out fraud.”
“As a commanding officer in the Navy, I could always delegate authority to the lowest level, but I could never delegate responsibility. Scott Taylor needs to stand up and take responsibility for what Judge Gregory Rupe called ‘out-and-out fraud.’ This is not the kind of moral character this district, or our country, deserves.” [Elaine Luria said.]
Many of those signatures were gathered by staffers working for the incumbent Republican, Scott Taylor, who is seeking a second term. Five current or former staffers for the congressman declined to answer questions in court, invoking their Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination. A separate criminal probe into the matter is ongoing; a state police investigator attended the civil hearing.
“Those pages were riddled with forgeries,” handwriting analyst Cina Wong testified.
After spending a lot of time speaking to community groups around Hampton Roads, Kidd said he’s heard a significant number of Republicans say the whole petition scheme has been “one step too far . . . They’re not happy about it.”
“I’m buying almost all of what you all are selling,” Rupe said, looking at attorneys Jeffrey Breit and Aria Branch. “There’s no doubt in my mind that there are instances of forgery … perjury and out-and-out fraud.”
The petition controversy does not end with Rupe’s ruling. A special prosecutor has been appointed to conduct a criminal investigation.
Virginia State Police have begun two separate investigations to examine the signatures and whether the petitions were properly certified before being turned over to election officials, Breit said.
“From the time this fraud became public knowledge, Congressman Scott Taylor has dodged responsibility for the criminal actions of his paid staff,” Luria said.
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.
A special prosecutor is investigating the alleged forgeries.
All of Taylor’s staffers who collected signatures for Brown, including three staffers accused of forging multiple signatures each, were subpoenaed by the Democrats to appear in courtWednesday.
None of them took the witness stand, indicating in affidavits that they would plead the Fifth Amendment, which Ellenson told TPM hurt Brown’s case. The three staffers accused of forgery together collected nearly 400 signatures for Brown, the Democratic Party said in a filing, including dozens of alleged forgeries.
“The argument was, and the judge bought it, that none of the signatures from Scott Taylor’s [staffers] should be counted,” Ellenson said.
An independent candidate must be removed from the ballot in a competitive congressional race in Virginia due to forged voter signatures on her petitions, a judge ruled Wednesday, saying he found evidence of “out-and-out fraud.”
Rupe said he found a pattern of forgery and fraud on Brown’s petitions and granted a request from Democrats for an injunction to prevent Brown’s name from appearing on theNov. 6 ballot. The judge said the forgery led him to conclude that Brown has fewer than the 1,000 valid signatures she needs to appear on the ballot.
A Virginia judge on Wednesday ordered an independent candidate in a key congressional contest removed from November’s ballot, citing invalid signatures gathered with assistance from staffers for the incumbent Republican.
The effort to put Brown on the ballot as an independent candidate - which could have siphoned votes from the Democratic nominee, Elaine Luria - was boosted by Taylor’s campaign staffers, according to published reports.
A state court judge on Wednesday ordered that the name of an Independent candidate for Congress be struck from this year’s ballot after he concluded the effort to get her on it was fraught with “fraud, forgery and perjury.”
Among them were the names of dead people, those who had since moved out of the state, and others who said their names and signatures were completely fraudulent.
On Wednesday, five members of Taylor’s staff, including his former campaign manager, submitted affidavits asserting their Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate themselves when asked about the legality of their signature collection, the role Taylor played in ordering them to collect signatures, and whether there was a concerted effort to defraud the Board of Elections in their signature collection.
An independent candidate for Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District is being taken off the ballot in November after a judge found evidence that there were not enough valid signatures on the petitions to put her name in the running.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that there are instances of forgery, perjury and fraud,” Richmond Circuit Court Judge Gregory Rupe said.
Cake was relieved by the news but was upset that Congressman Taylor did not come to court given the circumstances.
“You’re supposed to be our elected official, you’re supposed to be somebody that we look up to and we should feel that you’re always doing the right thing on our behalf and I don’t think you did,” Cake said.
There’s a special prosecutor overseeing a criminal investigation into the allegations of election fraud involving Taylor’s staffers.
Taylor's staffers helped collect signatures to qualify Brown to be an Independent candidate, but Democrats say dozens of people have come forward to say they never signed it.
Separately, a special prosecutor is investigating whether Taylor's staff did anything illegal.
Six people connected to the Taylor campaign signed affidavits indicating they would plead the fifth amendment about their involvement to the signature collections. Among the questions is whether Rep. Taylor directly instructed them to collect the signatures.
"Hopefully the signal from the judge today is that we are better than that," said Jeffrey Breit, attorney for the Democratic Party of Virginia.
Her husband Stuart’s forged name appeared on the petitions for Shaun Brown two months after he had died.
“I know he would would have been really upset," Cake said. "He would not have been happy at all for his name to be used without his permission.”
Breit says she and the others wouldn’t be able to answer the questions.
“I mean primarily whether they committed forgeries, whether they knew there were forgeries on the ballot and whether or not Scott Taylor directed them to gather the signatures to put Shaun Brown on the ballot," Breit said.
The judge determined there were dozens of forged signatures on petitions floated by Congressman Scott Taylor’s staff to get Brown on the ballot in what some say was a political stunt.
13News Now Political analyst Quinten Kidd says this is big.
“It’s a pretty significant event for a judge to then go back and say there was ‘out-and-out’ fraud involved here and to take her name off the ballot.”