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Mississippi Tea Party Leader Arrested In Cochran Nursing Home Video Case

Handcuffs Jail

An attorney who also happens to be Vice Chairman of a Central Mississippi Tea Party group has been arrested along with one other person in connection with a break-in at the nursing home where Senator Thad Cochran’s lives:

A tea party activist in has been arrested in connection with the filming of Sen. Thad Cochran’s bedridden wife, the latest twist in a story that has rocked the stretch run of the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Mississippi.

Authorities on Thursday arrested Mark Mayfield, his attorney Merrida Coxwell told Post Politics in a brief interview. Mayfield is the vice chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party and a supporter of state Sen. Chris McDaniel, Cochran’s GOP primary opponent.

The Jackson Clarion Ledger newspaper reported Thursday that a second arrest was made in connection with the case and a third individual was charged.

The news comes on the heels of the arrest of blogger Clayton Thomas Kelly last Friday on allegations that he filmed Cochran’s wife, Rose Cochran, in a nursing home and posted at least one image of her in an online video. Kelly has written items praising McDaniel and criticizing Cochran.

Coxwell said he was still trying to learn the details of Mayfield’s arrest. The authorities “are claiming he was in a conspiracy with Clayton Kelly,” Coxwell added.

Bail has been set at $250,000. Calls to both a Madison Police Department spokesman and Madison County Assistant District Attorney Bryan Buckley were not immediately returned.

McDaniel and his campaign have denied any involvement in Kelly’s alleged effort to film Rose Cochran, who suffers from dementia and has stayed at the nursing home since 2000. But Cochran’s campaign has raised questions about whether McDaniel’s team knows more than they’ve been acknowledging, citing the timing of remarks the McDaniel campaign has made.

Meanwhile, McDaniel has raised questions about why Cochran’s campaign waited weeks after learning about the video before alerting authorities.

The entire episode has drowned out everything else in the campaign ahead of the June 3 primary.

In the days that have passed since the initial reports of the break-in and the video broke, there have been suggestions that Kelly may have been working with others when he went forward with this bizarre and appalling stunt. Kelly was represented by counsel virtually from the time of his arrest, and it appears that his attorney has advised him to cooperate with authorities, which is probably the best thing for him to do in this situation. Whether this is the end of the road in terms of the parties involved, or whether there’s a more substantial link to the McDaniel campaign remains to be seen. In any event, it seems to me that, with the primary now just about ten days away on June 3rd, even these hints that McDaniel’s supporters were involved in something like this is going to hurt a campaign that was already on its last legs to begin with.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    Two more people have been arrested: Richard Sager, charged with one count of conspiracy and one count of evidence tampering. The third guy, John Mary, was just taken into custody, and the charges against him haven’t been made public yet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  2. I still don’t get how this was even supposed to work in terms of getting people to not like Thad Cochran.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  3. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    The McDaniel supporters were going to try to use it as proof that Cochran was/is having a lengthy affair with his longtime female aide.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  4. Moosebreath says:

    @CSK:

    I’m not sure “proof” is the right word. More like this would be part of an ad saying he’s a terrible person for having an affair while his wife is in a nursing home.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. CSK says:

    @Moosebreath:

    Apparently they had a video with the shot of Mrs. Cochran lying in bed that was supposed to promote that very idea. The chump who took the photos had posted it on his blog very briefly.

    I was using the word “proof” loosely, but I think they hoped that the photo would constitute “proof” of an affair in the minds of whoever saw the video. There will probably be more arrests. McDaniel’s supporters are saying that Cochran set this up, but since Cochran was running about 18 points ahead of McDaniel before this happened, I kind of doubt it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. Anderson says:

    The single best place for keeping up with this is the Jackson Jambalaya blog - the proprietor & I share few political beliefs in common, but he gets some scoops, posts useful documents, videotapes hearings, & is generally more useful than, say, the local paper.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  7. Anderson says:

    McDaniel’s supporters are saying that Cochran set this up, but since Cochran was running about 18 points ahead of McDaniel before this happened, I kind of doubt it.

    They’re teahadis – you think they believe the polls???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  8. argon says:

    Tea Party Watergate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. David M says:

    So this plan appeared reasonable to several people in the Tea Party, and none of them had enough common sense to realize it was completely idiotic?

    Seems about right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  10. KM says:

    @CSK:

    McDaniel’s supporters are saying that Cochran set this up, but since Cochran was running about 18 points ahead of McDaniel before this happened, I kind of doubt it.

    Of course they are. It’s never their guy that’s screwed up; he’s a plant, a provocateur, a paid-off shill, a turncoat, false flag…. whatever else BS I can’t be bothered to remember right now. What is so wrong with admitting that maybe, just maybe, someone on your side of the line did something inexcusable? Every group ever in the history of the world has had sinners and saints as members. One bad apple only spoils the bunch when you leave it in the basket to rot along side the others.

    Besides, if he was really a plant, what does that say about you and yours that you didn’t realize he was such a dastardly person and embraced him to your bosom? Wouldn’t be advertising that lack of character judgement if I were you….

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  11. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Look, this guy was an amateur, and he made a rookie mistake. He kept hearing how “politics ain’t beanbag,” and just went a little too far. Cut him some slack, will ya? He’s learned his lesson, and he won’t do it again… This is just a phony scandal, anyway…

    Wait a minute. This guy ain’t a Democrat?

    Sorry, there go the usual excuses. At least one side has to maintain some ethical standards.

    Rope. Tree. Some assembly required.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 14

  12. dmhlt says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Phase 1 – Collect Pictures

    Phase 2 – ?

    Phase 3 – VICTORY

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0