More arrests in photographing of Thad Cochran’s wife in nursing home (Update: DA says McDaniel campaign not involved)
Political presumption of guilt works in Thad Cochran’s favor with fast approaching June 3 primary.
Supporters of Thad Cochran, including the National Republican Senatorial Committee, have all but convicted the campaign of Chris McDaniel in the possibly illegal — but definitely disgusting — photographing of Cochran’s wife in a nursing home.
— Greg Giroux (@greggiroux) May 22, 2014
While more evidence may, and likely will, come out, as of this writing there is no evidence made public that McDaniel’s campaign itself was involved. If the facts are not known by the June 3 primary, the political presumption of guilt may be enough to sink the McDaniel campaign.
What we know is that the guy who did the taping was a pro-Cochran blogger, but his lawyer denies it was part of a campaign effort.
Based on tweets today from a court hearing by a local reporter, it appears that the blogger did it to make a name for himself. He succeeded in that, although perhaps not in the way he intended.
The big news today were three new arrests. A volunteer who contributed $500 to the McDaniel campaign, and is a leader of a local Tea Party group, was arrested for “conspiracy” with regard to the photographing. He reportedly is a long-time Cochran opponent. Two other people (for a total of three today) also were charged, one person for destroying evidence the other person for reasons not known as of this writing.
Based on live tweeting from the courtroom, it does not appear that there was evidence produced that showed the McDaniel campaign’s involvement.
McDaniel issued a statement calling for prosecution to the fullest extent of the law:
“As we have said since day one, the violation of the privacy of Mrs. Cochran is out of bounds for politics and is reprehensible,” McDaniel said in a statement after the arrests. “Any individuals who were involved in this crime should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
It may turn out the McDaniel campaign was involved — but that evidence has not been disclosed if it exists. Yet Cochran supporters are acting as if the evidence already is there. If they turn out to be right, it’s for the wrong reasons.
With the June 3 election fast approaching, it’s not clear we will know the answer prior to the election. Part of the problem is that this was made public so late in part because the Cochran campaign sat on the incident for two weeks before going to authorities.
That uncertainty caused by delay works in Cochran’s favor, since there is a presumption of guilt being cast on the McDaniel campaign.
There is precious little time before the election to find out if that presumption of guilt is accurate.
Funny how that works.
UPDATE 6 p.m.: The D.A. has confirmed that there is no evidence of McDaniel campaign involvement:
Michael Guest, the district attorney for Madison and Rankin counties, told Simmons that he doesn’t believe anyone with the McDaniel campaign is involved.
— Aaron Gardner (@Aaron_RS) May 22, 2014
McDaniel has issued a demand that the Cochran ad in the Featured Image be taken down based on the DA’s statement:
Chris McDaniel released a statement today confirming the Madison County District Attorney’s statement that no one with the McDaniel campaign is involved.
“This confirms what I’ve said all along. The violation of Mrs. Cochran’s privacy is an outrage and completely out of bounds. As the District Attorney has said, our campaign had nothing to do with this sad incident. This campaign should be about a real debate over issues, and we look forward to a return to that discussion,” said Republican candidate for US Senate Chris McDaniel.
“I call on Sen. Cochran to remove his incendiary ad tying myself and my campaign to any illegal activity. It is shameful for a sitting U.S. Senator to engage in such desperate slander and lies,” he concluded.
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