Former Scott Taylor campaign staffer pleads guilty to neglect of election duties

Democrats subpoena Rep. Scott Taylor in petition lawsuit
Posted at 11:42 AM, Sep 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-24 11:50:56-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A former Scott Taylor campaign staffer has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of willful neglect of election duties, according to Special Prosecutor John Beamer.

In a summary from the Commonwealth's evidence, the report said Roberta Licua Marciano was hired in the spring of 2018 as a member of the reelection campaign for Scott Taylor (R).

He was seeking to be reelected for his 2nd Congressional District seat against Elaine Luria at the time.

The staff included seven people including Lauren Peabody who previously pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of willful neglect of an election duty.

On Thursday May 31, 2018, Shaun Brown announced she was going to run as an independent candidate, creating the potential for a three-way race between incumbent Congressman Scott Taylor, Democrat Elaine Lauria and Shaun Brown.

During the weekend following Brown's announcement Congressman Taylor and members of his reelection staff met in Washington D.C. to discuss campaign strategy in light of that announcement, the Commonwealth's evidence said.

The evidence went on to say that at this meeting, it was decided that the Taylor reelection campaign staff would help Brown qualify for the November ballot through petitions of qualified voters behalf of Brown.

Court documents said on or around June 4 Taylor campaign staffers circulated those petitions and turned them in after.

Marciano swore that she "witnessed the signature of each person who signed [the petition]," court documents said.

During the Virginia State Police investigation it was found that two petitions that were circulated by Marciano were actually circulated by two other staffers, meaning Marciano did not witness the signings of the petitions.

On Thursday Marciano pleaded guilty to willful neglect of election duties and was was originally charged with two felonies, Special Prosecutor John Beamer said. He said she was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and the other felony was nolle prosed. Beamer said the investigation is still ongoing and he had no further comment about the situation.

Marciano will not spend time behind bars as she received a one year suspended jail sentence and was fined $1,000.

The Scott Taylor campaign released a statement on the case saying, "Scott Taylor had no knowledge of any wrongdoing and has never been under investigation, as Scott was told by the special agent investigating with the Virginia State Police: "in no way are you being looked at as any type of suspect." Those involved in any illicit behavior can and should be held accountable."

Related: Special prosecution: 4th indictment likely to come for former Scott Taylor staffer; Taylor claims political motivation