Mississippi Blogger Gets Prison Time In Cochran Case

You may remember the controversy that became public last year when a Mississippi blogger and officials tied to Tea Party groups in the Magnolia State conspired to film Senator Thad Cochran’s late wife in the nursing home where she was suffering from dementia before she died. It was one of the many things that made the GOP Senate Primary between Thad Cochran and State Senator Chris McDaniel one of the most bizarre of the entire election cycle. Now, the blogger who took those pictures has been sentenced to prison:

Twenty-nine-year-old Clayton Kelly of Pearl, Mississippi, shot the video of Sen. Thad Cochran’s then-wife in 2014.

On Monday, Mississippi Circuit Judge William Chapman gave Kelly the full five-year maximum sentence, but he’ll be in prison for half that time. The rest is on probation.

Images of Rose Cochran, who had dementia, appeared online briefly during a tough Republican primary. Investigators say Kelly was one of several people who conspired to produce the video suggesting Thad Cochran was having an affair.

It’s unclear what will happen to the other people arrested in connection with the case. One of those man, a local attorney with ties to the Tea Party, ended up committing suicide last summer but the charges against the other two seem to still be outstanding. And thus ends one of the stranger chapters in recent political history.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2014, Quick Takes, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
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 contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Gustopher says:

    While the blogger was certainly sleazy, I worry about what decisions like this do to investigative journalism.

  2. MikeSJ says:

    You have to be a serious D- Bag to do something like that but two years in prison seems a tad excessive.

    Three months and probation would be more appropriate in my opinion.

  3. Rob Prather says:

    It was one of the many things that made the GOP Senate Primary between Thad Cochran and State Senator Chris McDaniel one of the most bizarre of the entire election cycle.

    ONE of the most bizarre? If there was something stranger going on in last year’s elections, I didn’t see it.

  4. michael reynolds says:

    I’m always sad to see someone do time, however, in the absence of public whipping. . .

  5. Pinky says:

    Now the Too Big a Jerk for Mississippi Politics Hall of Fame has one member. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy.

  6. george says:

    @Gustopher:

    While the blogger was certainly sleazy, I worry about what decisions like this do to investigative journalism.

    Perhaps nothing, given that the sentence probably was related to the break in.

  7. JohnMcC says:

    @george: I looked the charges up (Clarion-Ledger of 6/15) because I was wondering if violating medical privacy was part of the prosecution. Turns out that he was charged with what must have been a grocery list of charges — burglary, attempted burglary and conspiracy — with a possible 55 years in prison. And he’d had a previous conviction for marijuana. He got a total of 5 years, half on probation.

    As Michael Reynolds says above, public whipping and a day in the stocks would have been my choice.

  8. anjin-san says:

    The moral of the story is don’t mess with someone’s family. If you want to go at them, go straight at them. Personally, I hope two years seems like four. I watched my grandmother suffer with dementia for years, I have no sympathy.