RICHMOND, Va. (WVEC) — A judge ruled to strike independent candidate Shaun Brown's name from the 2nd Congressional District ballot on Wednesday.

"I have no doubt in my mind that there are instances of forgery," said Richmond Circuit Judge Gregory Rupe.

Earlier in the day, Judge Rupe ruled Rep. Scott Taylor did not have to testify in a lawsuit that accuses members of his campaign staff of forging signatures to help Brown get on the ballot.

Rupe quashed the subpoena after agreeing with Taylor's lawyer that under state law, he is exempt from the subpoena while the House of Representatives is in session.

Democrats sued state election officials to remove Brown from the Nov. 6 ballot in the competitive U.S. House race.

SEE ALSO: Woman claims signature forged on petition, suit seeks $2.8M

Taylor, a Republican, has said he knew his staff was circulating petitions for Brown, but he denounced the use of false signatures.

A spokesperson from Scott Taylor's Office, Scott Weldon, made the following statement:

“Given that the Democrat lawsuit was purely political and has now successfully excluded Shaun Brown, it’s understandable that individuals would exercise their right not to testify today. Our campaign will continue to cooperate with the investigation and make no further comment while it is ongoing.”

Democrats claim Taylor's campaign wanted Brown on the ballot to bolster's Taylor's re-election by weakening support for his Democratic opponent, Elaine Luria.

A special prosecutor is conducting a separate criminal investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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