By Linda Cicoira
A political consultant to former U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor avoided prison Monday in Virginia Beach Circuit Court by pleading no contest to three misdemeanor charges of neglect of election duty in a plea bargaining agreement.
According to an article in the Virginian-Pilot, Robert “Rob” Catron(pictured left) was given a three-year suspended sentence. He was ordered to pay court costs, $7,500 in fines and to be on good behavior for a year.
Catron now works at the Alcalde & Fay, a lobbying firm in Arlington. He was initially charged with 10 counts of making false statements and election fraud stemming from a petition scandal during Taylor’s 2018 campaign for a second term in Congress. Each count is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
In the plea deal, prosecutors reduced three of the felonies to misdemeanors and dropped the rest of the charges. Catron declined to give a statement to the court.
Diane Toscano, a Virginia Beach attorney representing Taylor, told newspaper that Catron’s sentencing brought everything “to closure.” Taylor, who left office at the end of 2018, has not been charged with any crimes in connection with the investigation.
“Rogue employees violated the people’s trust,” Toscano said. “Scott’s political opponents wrongly attempted to link him to it, which the public now knows was nothing more than a cheap political smear. Today’s case makes all that clear.
Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin Stolle recused himself from Catron’s case because his brother, Virginia Beach Sheriff Ken Stolle, had signed one of the petitions. Prosecution was handled by the Roanoke commonwealth’s attorney’s office.