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Ex-consultant for ex-U.S. Rep Scott Taylor takes plea deal

A former campaign consultant for ex-U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor pleaded no contest Dec. 5 to three election-related misdemeanor charges in a case involving fraudulent petition signatures.

Robert “Rob” Catron will avoid prison time after receiving a three-year suspended sentence at a hearing in Virginia Beach Circuit Court, The Virginian-Pilot reported. He was also ordered to pay court costs and fines after entering the plea to three counts of neglect of election duty.

Catron declined to give a statement to the court but told The Washington Post he agreed to the plea deal because “it was much cheaper to do it this way than it was to go to court and fight” the charges, which initially included felonies.

The charges stemmed from a petition scandal during the Republican congressman’s ultimately losing 2018 campaign for a second term in Congress representing coastal Virginia’s 2nd District. Catron was accused of being involved in an effort to get a third-party spoiler candidate on the ballot with petitions using forged signatures, the Post reported.

Catron told the Post that while he knew of the petition drive in general, he had no knowledge that petition signatures were forged.

Three of Taylor’s other former staffers also faced charges connected with the matter, the Pilot reported.

Taylor faced no charges himself. His attorney said Dec. 5 that Catron’s sentencing brought everything “to closure.”

“Rogue employees violated the people’s trust,” Diane Toscano told the Pilot. “Scott’s political opponents wrongly attempted to link him to it, which the public now knows was nothing more than a cheap political smear.”

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