VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Another former staffer employed during Scott Taylor’s 2018 re-election campaign was in Virginia Beach Circuit Court on Tuesday.
32-year old Heather Guillot pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of a misdemeanor of willful neglect of election duties. The original charge was a felony for election fraud.
Guillot is one of three staffers charged in a petition scandal during former Congressman Taylor’s campaign.
Members of Taylor's staff were accused in gathering false signatures on petitions for a third party candidate, Shaun Brown. Court documents allege the signatures were part of a re-election campaign strategy to allegedly split Democratic votes against Elaine Luria.
In court, Guillot admitted that she did not witness the signing of at least one of those petitions.
The special prosecutor now assigned to the case is John Beamer, based in Roanoke. After the hearing, he said he could not comment except to say there are ongoing investigations.
The defense attorney, Richard Doummar, said it was an unfortunate situation.
“All in all, it was a fair ruling. It seems it’s kind of been blown out of proportion. Mistakes were made and unfortunately my client, unfortunately, is responsible, has accepted responsibility for this and is going to move on,” stated Doummar.
When asked if Guillot was directed by someone in regard to falsifying signatures, Doummar replied, “Unfortunately, I’m not able to comment on that.”
News 3 reached out to Taylor’s office for comment but could not reach him. In the past, Taylor has maintained that he is not under investigation and that he would not condone unethical decisions.
Judge Margaret Spencer ordered former staffer, Guillot, to pay a $1,000 fine. She gave her a one-year jail sentence but suspended it; therefore, she won’t have to serve jail time. The sentence was the same deal given to two other staffers who were previously charged.
Doummar says that Guillot is not currently working in politics.