MADISON – The obscure blogger who ignited a flurry of national interest in the state’s U.S. Senate GOP primary after allegedly breaking into St. Catherine’s Village and taking a picture of Rose Cochran, the infirmed wife of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, and posting the image on the internet is scheduled to appear here today (Thursday) in municipal court on multiple felony charges.
The blogger, Clayton Kelly, 28, of Pearl, was arrested Friday by Madison Police and charged with exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Police on Wednesday said they’re still awaiting Kelly’s cell phone records and have reason to believe others could be involved in a conspiracy.
Cochran is battling to keep his seat for a seventh term in a Republican primary race with tea party challenger Chris McDaniel. Rose Cochran, 72, has battled dementia for more than 15 years and has been a resident of St. Catherine’s Village since 2000.
The photograph, allegedly taken on April 20, appeared in a pro-McDaniel video Kelly producted on his blog on April 26. Although the video was removed within a couple of hours, its existence became known quickly among journalists and political insiders.
Madison police say electronic devices seized from Kelly are being examined for e-mail correspondence and contacts.
“It’s still an ongoing investigation,” said Madison Assistant Chief Robert Sanders.
Cochran’s campaign explained the three-week delay contacting police by saying they conducted their own investigations. Initially, the campaign did an investigation and made the decision to alert Cochran.
Sen. Cochran made a decision to retain attorney Don Clark, managing partner of the Butler Snow law firm, and the lawyers did their own investigation.
A decision was then made to pursue criminal charges against Kelly and the evidence was turned over to the Madison police last Thursday.
Madison County Journal