State Watch

Virginia special prosecutor indicts former GOP campaign staffer

A Virginia special prosecutor confirmed on Monday that he has presented two election fraud indictments against a worker on former Rep. Scott Taylor’s (R) unsuccessful 2018 reelection campaign, according to The Associated Press.

Campaign staffers for Taylor were accused last summer of fabricating signatures to prop up a third-party “spoiler” candidate against his Democratic opponent, Rep. Elaine Luria. In his statement, special prosecutor Donald Caldwell said there is no evidence the alleged wrongdoing occurred with Taylor’s knowledge or consent.{mosads}

“[T]here does not appear to have been a directive or an expectation that these petitions would be circulated in violation of Virginia law,” he wrote, adding that “what actually happened within the campaign headquarters is still a subject of investigation due primarily to the lack of cooperation of key individuals” with a Virginia State Police investigation.

“Today serves as a complete repudiation of the smears and lies leveled against me in the campaign last year,” Taylor, who lost by about 2 points, said in a statement on Monday.

“I was not ever aware of any wrongdoing by my campaign until the allegations came to light. Today’s release by the special prosecutor is complete vindication in that regard.”

Taylor further suggested that he lost the race because of what he said was innuendo about his connection to the allegations.

“Given the positive polling before the petition issue came to light and the close loss we suffered on Election Day, it is clear the … millions spent by the dishonest Democrats impacted the outcome of the race,” he asserted.

While Caldwell’s statement did not name the campaign staffer, the Virginian-Pilot reported a grand jury indicted Lauren Creekmore Peabody, 25. Taylor’s office paid Peabody $13,000 between January 2017 and December 2018, according to Federal Election Commission records, but her exact role with the campaign was unclear.

Tags Elaine Luria Scott Taylor
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