Former resident's family member helped blogger access nursing home to photograph Sen. Cochran's wife, authorities say
Investigators say that three more people, in addition to the political blogger originally arrested, have been charged as alleged conspirators in the unauthorized photographing of a U.S. Senator's wife in her nursing home room. One of the newly charged individuals has a connection to the continuing care retirement community involved and might have helped the blogger gain access, Mississippi authorities added.
Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest told a local newspaper that additional individuals could be charged, but he would not elaborate on possible identities.
Authorities say blogger Clayton Kelly illegally photographed Rose Cochran at St. Catherine's Village, a Madison CCRC, under false pretenses. The photos wound up in a video that was quickly pulled from the Internet. The video used the photos in connection with assertions that Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) was having an affair while his wife has resided in the facility's nursing unit with dementia. Cochran, a six-term incumbent, has denied those assertions.
In addition to Kelly, authorities now have brought charges against Mark Mayfield, a local attorney and Tea Party leader; John Mary, a former radio show host; and Richard Sager, a teacher and soccer coach. Mayfield's wife resided at St. Catherine's prior to her death, and he might have helped Kelly enter and navigate the CCRC, according to local reports.
All face felony conspiracy charges. Kelly also faces charges of exploiting a vulnerable adult and Sager faces an additional charge of evidence tampering, according to published reports.
Caught in the middle of the lurid case are the CCRC facility staff and both candidates — all of whom deny any prior knowledge that the photographs were obtained illegally. For now, Guest said his office will focus on parties who aided in the unauthorized photography at the facility.
Additional news reports have delved into Tea Party connections among the suspects and their previous connections to McDaniel.