Scott Taylor issues cease and desist letter to Elaine Luria over comments on 2018 campaign staffer election duty charge

Posted at 12:14 PM, Aug 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-19 10:51:11-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Scott Taylor has issued a cease and desist letter to Elaine Luria over campaign staffer election duty charge comments.

In 2018 Taylor's staff was under investigation after the discovery that several signatures were forged on petitions to help qualify Shaun Brown as an Independent candidate for Congress in the second congressional district. The signatures included dead people and others who said their names were used without their permission.

A campaign staffer eventually pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of willful neglect of an election duty.

On Tuesday Taylor's press release said he issued the letter to Luria and her congressional and campaign staff. It demands that they stop making "false and defamatory claims about him."

The release said Luria and staff have "repeatedly made false claims that have been made publicly on multiple occasions by both Elaine Luria and Elaine for Congress Campaign Manager, Veronica Ingham. The letter, issued by Taylor's legal counsel, cites Luria’s reckless disregard for the truth and puts her on notice that continued false statements will be considered malicious under the law."

Taylor was quoted saying, “The Luria campaign is engaging in blatant lies out of desperation. This feeble attempt to confuse voters is only to distract from Luria’s failure to competently serve her own constituents. At all times, but especially during a global pandemic, our local elected officials must be available to listen to everyone in the community and eager to advocate for members of our community in need. Luria is falling far short of her duties to the voters. She is ineffective, unaccountable, and this lowly attempt to distract and confuse the voters from her pitiful record will not work. Regarding the 2018 petition collection, I had no knowledge of the wrongdoings of others, and I have never personally been under investigation. When I learned of the unethical and totally unacceptable behavior conducted by former campaign staff, I was devastated and fired that campaign’s leadership. I am not currently and have never been under investigation.”

Elaine Luria’s campaign released the following statement on Tuesday:

"Here is what we know to be true: Taylor’s campaign is still under investigation with more indictments likely. How high up it goes, only the Special Prosecutor knows. The direction to help put Shaun Brown on the ballot with fraudulent signatures was directed by Scott Taylor’s Virginia Beach Campaign Headquarters.” said the Elaine Luria Campaign.

“There has already been one Taylor campaign worker who has pleaded guilty in this investigation with another campaign worker set for trial in September. We believe there are likely to be more indictments to follow. Taylor oversaw the day-to-day operations of his campaign in 2018, and trying to remove himself from any potential culpability before the case is resolved is premature, absurd, and demonstrates a lack of leadership and character. We look forward to hearing from the ultimate arbiter on this issue, the rule of law, and hope that Taylor’s campaign staff will start to cooperate with law enforcement as this investigation continues.”

Related: 3 Republicans vying to challenge Rep. Elaine Luria in Tuesday's primary election