Contributing Author: Chip Ward
JACKSON, Miss.- Two more people have been arrested in connection to the pictures taken of Senator Thad Cochran’s wife.
Attorney Mark Mayfield, a vice chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party and a Laurel soccer coach, Richard Sager were arrested Thursday by Madison police. Mayfield has been charged with conspiracy and his bond has been set at $250,000. Sager has been charged with tampering with evidence and conspiracy and his bond is $500,000 dollars; $250,000 for each charge.
Mayfield’s attorney argued against the $250,000 bond saying, he is not a flight risk and does not have a criminal background, but the judge kept the bond at $250,000 saying it was for the protection of the community.
Mayfield’s Attorney, Merrida Coxwell:
Clayton Kelly, 28, of Pearl was arrested last Friday for taking pictures of Cochran’s bedridden wife, Rose Cochran. Authorities said the political blogger and McDaniel supporter photographed her at St. Catherine’s nursing home in Madison, where she is bedridden and suffering from progressive dementia.
Madison investigator said in court Thursday, the video was posted on Clayton Kelly’s YouTube. She says photos were taken close, inside the room of Rose Cochran. The investigator said Kelly took videos down after police went to his house, but they believe Kelly took photos to further launch his journalistic career.
The photos were called to their attention by an attorney from Butler Snow. Investigators said she assumed that Kelly took pictures to create a story that Cochran was having an affair.
Kelly’s lawyer argued that Kelly earned no money from photos so they are unable to determine if it is a misdemeanor or something more severe.The defender said investigators need to prove Kelly made more than $250 off photos to be considered a felony exploitation charge.
Kelly’s Attorney, Kevin Camp:
Investigator said Rose Cochran’s dementia is so bad she is not aware of her surroundings. Defending lawyer said burden of proof has not been met on felony charge because investigators can’t prove any benefit Kelly got from taking the photos.
Prosecutor said gain from exploitation does not have to be money. Prosecutors say Rose’s image is worth more than $250. Defenders argued the only thing investigators can prove is that there was not consent.
Kelly was charged with exploitation of a vulnerable adult, taking photos without permission and conspiracy to commit a crime. Kelly was charged a $100,000 bond for the exploitation of a vulnerable adult and $50,000 for taking photos without permission and another $50,0000 for conspiracy to commit a crime.
His hearing Thursday was only for the exploitation of a vulnerable adult. The judge said there was enough probable cause for crime so the case now goes to the grand jury. A bond reduction for Kelly was denied.