Fielder says he didn’t buy votes, but was asked to

A Meridian man has recanted – sort of – his story that he helped the U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran campaign buy votes for $15 each in Lauderdale County.

Stevie Fielder now says he was asked to buy votes – by someone he won’t identify – but that he refused because “I would be in jail because that’s illegal.” He says he has talked with the state Attorney General’s Office.

“I haven’t done anything illegal,” said Fielder, who made national news after a lengthy interview with GotNews.com. In that audio-recorded interview, Fielder said he received thousands of dollars in envelopes from Cochran campaign staffer Saleem Baird and paid hundreds of people in the African-American community around Meridian $15 each for their vote. He also indicated he had discussed the issue with then-Cochran campaign manager Kirk Sims and operations manager Amanda Shook.

Listen to a full interview with Fielder here
The Breitbart news site, after the GotNews report, said Fielder in a brief phone interview reconfirmed the allegations.

Now Fielder is claiming he was talking “hypothetical” and the recording of the interview must have been selectively edited. But then he appeared to contradict this at one point, saying, “Maybe I got out there and said, gave an interview to somebody that I shouldn’t have talked to … I’m not trying to take away the recording.”

Charles C. Johnson with GotNews said the audio of the interview was not altered.

“What was said and what was recorded on that tape was not meant to show in any way that I took anyone to the polls and voted,” Fielder said Thursday, “nor did Mr. Cochran and them ask me to do that, not Kirk or any of his other people … in the upper echelon (of the campaign).”

But Fielder danced around the issue when asked if Baird, minority outreach director for the Cochran campaign, asked him to help buy votes.

ClarionLedger
7/10/14