“Judge orders independent candidate off the ballot in Va. congressional race, citing ‘out and out fraud”


A Richmond Circuit Court judge on Wednesday ordered independent candidate Shaun Brown removed from the ballot in Virginia’s 2nd District congressional race, finding that her qualifying petition was tainted by “forgery” and “out and out fraud.”

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, pleading the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination. A separate criminal probe into the matter is ongoing and a state police investigator attended the civil hearing.

The Democratic Party of Virginia, which brought the civil suit against the State Board of Elections, submitted 41 affidavits from people who said their signatures were forged on petitions to get Brown qualified for the ballot. A handwriting expert testified Wednesday that of some 377 signatures collected by Taylor’s staffers, at least 146 appeared to be false.

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