Amidst findings of fraud, a judge in Richmond is ordering the independent candidate in a competitive Congressional race off the ballot this November. Shaun Brown, a former Democrat running as an Independent in the 2nd District, says she will appeal the ruling.
There are still questions though about the involvement of incumbent Republican, Congressman Scott Taylor.
Reporters and constituents eager to hear directly from Taylor were disappointed Wednesday. He was exempted from testifying because Congress is in session.
His staff helped gather signatures to get Brown on the ballot. The judge ruled there were multiple instances of forgery and fraud among those signatures. When asked whether they had been involved, or whether that effort was directed by the Congressman, six of his staff members opted to plead the fifth rather than answer.
“When six people say I refuse to take the witness stand. It says a lot about whether or not there was a fraud committed,” said Democratic Party lawyer Jeffrey Breit.
Democrats accuse the Taylor campaign of wanting Brown on the ballot in order to splinter Democratic votes.
“Taylor put her on there for one reason and one reason only, to steal votes from the Democratic candidate Elaine Luria,” Breit said to reporters after the ruling.
A special prosecutor is still investigating, and could possibly bring criminal charges.
The 2nd District race is being closely watched. Democrats consider it a seat they could flip in their effort to take back the majority in the House this Fall.