Voice mail released in Senator's wife photo scandal - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Voice mail released in Senator's wife photo scandal

Clayton Kelly in court Sunday Clayton Kelly in court Sunday
MADISON COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

As a political blogger makes his way through the justice system, the fireworks continue over why he was arrested, who knew about it, and whether it was a strategy to influence voters.

It's pitting State Sen. Chris McDaniel and his incumbent opponent, U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran even more against each other as the primary draws near.

We have a new piece to the puzzle, a voicemail that Cochran's camp says proves McDaniel's people keep changing their story.

Cochran's campaign says it's obvious McDaniel's camp is lying.

 McDaniel's campaign is accusing Cochran's people of slander.

In the middle of it all, 28-year-old Clayton Kelly, has been arrested for sneaking into Cochran's wife's room at a nursing home and snapping her picture.

Now, more campaign fodder in the form of a voicemail sent Saturday morning.

State Sen. Melanie Sojourner said this in a voicemail to Cochran's campaign manager, Kirk Sims, on Saturday morning.

"Wanted to call and touch base with you this morning. Been up most of the night," the voicemail said.

Sojourner told Sims the McDaniel campaign doesn't know Kelly.

"We have no idea who he is," Sojourner said.

But then a little later in the call, Sojourner said, "There was some stuff several months ago where this guy was doing some insane stuff online. We found out about it. Chris and I immediately sicced a bunch of volunteers on trying to find who was the source of just a lot of ugly rumors and nasty stuff and we wanted it squashed."

 The Cochran campaign released the voicemail to FOX 40. 

Campaign spokesman Jordan Russell said that's just one part of the message where Sojourner contradicts herself.

"It's just very curious that they're simultaneously saying they didn't know the guy when they say they've been dealing with it for months," Russell said.

McDaniel's campaign spokesman Noel Fritsch said Sojourner saw the blog post at about 1 a.m. Saturday, and realized that the victim could have been Rose Cochran based on "the preponderance of evidence," including that it happened at St. Catherines.

But remember our story Saturday night? A political reporter with TheHill.com said McDaniel seemed surprised when asked about it and said he didn't know about it.

Fritsch said McDaniel had already been briefed, but not fully.

But Sojourner's message implies otherwise.

"I know that Chris is very upset about it and we just felt like that he needed to have a personal phone call certainly with you, but he really wanted to have one with Sen. Cochran if you think that's at all possible," Sojourner's message said.

While both campaigns remain on the offensive, Kelly faces serious jail time.

At his initial appearance Sunday, a judge kept Kelly's bond at $100,000.

His preliminary hearing begins Thursday.

To read more on this developing story click here

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