Conservative blogger Clayton Thomas Kelly, right, of Pearl, responds to questions from city Judge Dale Danks as his attorney Kevin Camp listens in Madison city court on Thursday. Photo by: AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis
May 24, 2014 11:08:51 PM
JACKSON -- Republican U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi said Friday that it's "unfortunate" and "sort of bizarre" that somebody photographed his ailing wife in a nursing home and posted her image online in a political video against him.
A conservative blogger and three others have been arrested in the past week and charged with at least one felony each in what Madison police call a conspiracy to take unauthorized photos of 72-year-old Rose Cochran, who has dementia.
Cochran spoke to a small group of reporters Friday outside a campaign event in Jackson, according to WAPT-TV.
"It's an unfortunate, sort of bizarre incident, but it's being handled by the authorities and I trust in their good judgment," said Cochran, who has been in Washington most of the week.
He also said: "The nursing home people are worried, you know, about the impact it might have on their reputation. But I think everybody is trying to do the right thing."
The photo incident has created turmoil during the final two weeks of a campaign in which a tea party-backed candidate, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, is trying to defeat a former Senate Appropriations Committee chairman who's been in Washington more than 40 years. The primary is June 3.
McDaniel has said repeatedly that his campaign had nothing to do with the photos. He called the violation of Rose Cochran's privacy "reprehensible."
She has lived in St. Catherine's Village nursing home in Madison for the past 13 years. The Cochran family says she has lost the ability to speak and is receiving hospice care.
Police investigator Vickie Currie said in city court Thursday that when blogger Clayton Kelly photographed Rose Cochran on Easter Sunday, it was his third attempt to do so. Kelly told investigators that he photographed her through a door that opened to a hallway, his attorney, Kevin Camp, told The Associated Press.
Cochran's campaign has started running a TV ad that mentions the photo incident, shows Kelly's jail mug shot and identifies Kelly as a McDaniel supporter. A narrator says: "Rise up and say 'no' to dirty politics."
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