CANTON — Prosecutors say they are in plea bargain talks with a man allegedly involved in plotting to take unauthorized photos of Sen. Thad Cochran’s bedridden wife during the Republican primary campaign.
Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest tells the Madison County Journal the talks could result in Richard Sager, a teacher from Laurel, testifying against the only man indicted in the case, Clayton Kelly.
Guest says Sager’s case has not been presented to a grand jury pending plea negotiations.
Kelly was indicted on charges stemming from the April incident at St. Catherine’s Village nursing home in Madison, where the senator’s wife, Rose Cochran, has lived for several years with dementia.
Authorities say Kelly photographed Rose Cochran, without permission, and posted her image online as part of a political video criticizing the six-term senator.
Kelly, a supporter of Cochran’s GOP primary opponent Chris McDaniel, is charged with burglary, attempted burglary and conspiracy.
Kelly is free on a $75,000 bond. If convicted on all three counts, he faces a maximum 55 years in prison. A trial date has been set for March 30, 2015, before Circuit Judge William Chapman.
The conspiracy count in the indictment claims Kelly conspired with Sager and John Bertram Mary, a talk radio host, between March 15 and April 26, 2014.
Ridgeland attorney Mark Mayfield was also arrested and charged with conspiracy but later committed suicide. His name is not mentioned in the indictment.
Mary has since pleaded guilty to conspiracy in exchange for five years of probation and no jail time. Guest said Mary is expected to testify against Kelly.
Cochran defeated McDaniel in the June 24 Republican primary runoff and faces Democratic former U.S. Rep. Travis Childers and the Reform Party’s Shawn O’Hara in the Nov. 4 general election.
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