Two more arrests were made Thursday in the case of the crazed blogger, Clayton Thomas Kelly, who allegedly illegally entered the nursing home occupied by Rose Cochran, wife of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), and photographed her.
The arrests, according to The Clarion-Ledger, were of attorney and Mississippi Tea Party Vice Chairman Mark Mayfield and Richard Sager, a Laurel, MS, man.
Sager is charged with evidence tampering and conspiracy. Mayfield is charged with conspiracy, according to local news outlet WAPT.
A third man, John Mary, was charged with conspiracy but will not be kept in custody due to a medical condition.
News of the arrests came amid word that Michael Guest, the district attorney for Madison, MS, had cleared state Sen. Chris McDaniel and his campaign of any wrongdoing. “Michael Guest, the district attorney for Madison and Rankin counties, told [WAPT reporter Scott] Simmons that he doesn’t believe anyone with the McDaniel campaign is involved,” the news outlet wrote.
However, The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Guest stated that “no person or persons have been cleared.”
Since the news of Kelly’s arrest broke publicly the morning of May 17th, Cochran’s campaign and his supporters have tried to tie McDaniel and his campaign to the actions–the latest twist in a bitter primary battle for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate seat right before the June 3 election.
Upon initial reports that he had been cleared by Guest, McDaniel issued a statement, again condemning Kelly’s alleged actions and yet again calling for Cochran to join him in discussing actual policy issues on the campaign trail.
McDaniel’s statement said:
The violation of Mrs. Cochran’s privacy is an outrage and completely out of bounds. As the District Attorney has said, our campaign had nothing to do with this sad incident. This campaign should be about a real debate over issues, and we look forward to a return to that discussion. I call on Sen. Cochran to remove his incendiary ad tying myself and my campaign to any illegal activity. It is shameful for a sitting U.S. Senator to engage in such desperate slander and lies.
McDaniel issued a similar statement in an open letter to Cochran himself on Wednesday:
“Over the past several weeks, your campaign has resorted to shameful slander, even going so far as to call me a ‘criminal’ without a shred of evidence to back up these accusations,” McDaniel said in that letter to Cochran.
No doubt, many political campaigns resort to juvenile behavior when they are down in the polls, but this kind of slander goes beyond childish pranks. It is, frankly, an embarrassment to our great state. Mississippi deserves better than this.
Senator, if you are inclined to cast aspersions on my honor and integrity then I call upon you to do it to my face in a debate forum. (We are both grown men capable of engaging in a spirited debate about our differences. There is no need to hide behind campaign surrogates.)
New polls released this week from Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund and Citizens United Political Victory Fund show that McDaniel is ahead. It’s because of that McDaniel surge–and Cochran’s refusal to debate–McDaniel says, that Cochran has tried to stick him with these allegations.
Furthermore, McDaniel wrote to Cochran:
Until then [Cochran agrees to debate McDaniel], I will not engage either your campaign or the liberal media in their absurd witch hunt. No matter how many press releases your campaign puts out, I will simply not stoop to your level. Win or lose, I’d like to be able to wake up on June 4th and be proud of the primary campaign I ran on behalf of Mississippi. Trailing in the polls, your campaign has made it apparent they will say and do anything to win. Instead, we will continue to talk to voters about the issues they care about. And we will also continue to educate voters on your record, including your votes to fund Obamacare, your support for tax increases, your many votes to increase your own pay, and your support for billions of dollars in wasteful spending like the Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska.