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Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., arrives at the Senate chamber for a vote, Wednesday, May 14, 2014, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

, AP

Clayton Thomas Kelly

Madison County Detention Center, AP

Mississippi blogger accused of exploiting senator's wife faces $100K bond

  • Article by: JANET McCONNAUGHEY
  • Associated Press
  • May 19, 2014 - 3:21 AM

A magistrate in Mississippi has scheduled a preliminary hearing Thursday for a conservative Mississippi blogger who is accused of photographing the bedridden wife of Republican U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran without permission.

City Magistrate Dale Danks kept bond at $100,000 for Clayton Kelly, 28, at a hearing Sunday, Assistant Police Chief Robert Sanders said. Police were also looking into the possibility that other people were involved.

"That is certainly one of the focal points of the investigation," Sanders said in an email.

Kelly was arrested Friday on a charge of exploiting a vulnerable adult. He's accused of using an image of Cochran's wife, who suffers from dementia and has been in a nursing home since 2000, in an online video.

State Sen. Chris McDaniel, who is challenging the six-term senator in a GOP primary in June, said he does not have any ties to Kelly.

Kelly voluntarily took down the video about 90 minutes after uploading it last month and is cooperating with investigators, said his attorney, Kevin Camp.

Cochran attorney Don Clark said Saturday the photo of Rose Cochran was taken near her bedside. Kelly's attorney said it was taken through an open door during visiting hours.

"He didn't do anything that was out of the norms of visitation. He took the photo and put it on the blog," Camp said.

Kelly's Facebook page includes a photo of a McDaniel campaign sign and a photo of him with McDaniel at a campaign meet-and-greet event. On his blog, Constitutional Clayton, Kelly wrote, "When it comes to Republicans with a bad voting record, you can't get any worse than Thad Cochran."

Since Kelly's arrest, the campaigns have traded barbs over when Kelly came to the attention of the McDaniel campaign. Cochran's campaign released a voicemail it received from McDaniel's campaign manager, trying to show that McDaniel's camp knew about Kelly before his arrest.

The recording was first reported by The Clarion-Ledger (http://on.thec-l.com/1oEJovs) and later provided to The Associated Press.

© 2014 Star Tribune