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Charles C. Johnson Openly Wonders If He'll Be Assassinated Over Cochran Coverage

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At least that appeared to be what Johnson was insinuating in a tweet on Wednesday in which he vowed to never commit suicide and asserted that he's "also a very safe driver" whenever he's behind the wheel.

Does he really believe, as the tweet seemed to suggest, that he might be targeted for death?

Johnson told TPM in an email that while the tweet was "a tongue in cheek comment regarding the conspiracy theories" about the deaths of journalists Michael Hastings and Andrew Breitbart, he noted that he's "been getting death threats from folks in Mississippi."

Johnson said he also interpreted a recent tweet from Mississippi radio host Paul Gallo as a death threat. TPM left a message for Gallo on Wednesday seeking comment but did not receive an immediate response.

Dear Tom,

Please print this in its entirety.

Sure, it's a tongue in cheek comment regarding the conspiracy theories surrounding Michael Hastings and Andrew Breitbart though I have been getting death threats from folks in Mississippi.

Radio host Paul Gallo threatened to kill me on Twitter a few days back. I've also gotten several other death threats online.

Mark Mayfield, a Tea Party leader, took his own life when he was being pressured in the phony nursing home photo incident.

I'm just making clear that I won't be doing that, no matter the pressure.

All the best,

Charles

Johnson thrust himself into the middle of Mississippi's tense political dispute earlier this month when he reported on Stevie Fielder, a self-proclaimed minister who claimed that Sen. Thad Cochran's (R-MS) campaign bribed black voters in the Republican runoff against tea party challenger Chris McDaniel.

Fielder was paid by Johnson for the story, which was strongly disputed by the Cochran campaign. Jim Hood, Mississippi's Democratic attorney general, said Wednesday that his office is investigating whether or not Johnson paid Fielder to make a deliberately false claim.

Fielder, who's already changed his story previously, "admitted he got paid $2,000 to lie," according to Hood. Although it's not a crime to pay someone to make a false statement, Hood's office is looking into the source of the funds.

Fittingly, Hood's comments were reported by Clarion-Ledger reporter Sam R. Hall, who's become Johnson's biggest journalistic adversary during the fallout over the runoff.

On Tuesday, in fact, Johnson vowed to sue Hall for defamation over an article on Johnson's purportedly improper use of photographs from other news outlets.

Although he wouldn't share the details, Hall told TPM in an email on Wednesday that the Clarion-Ledger had already received a letter from Johnson.

Johnson indicated that he sent the newspaper an email "outlining my request for correction which is required under Mississippi law" and that he's also corresponded with the Clarion-Ledger's executive editor, Brian Tolley.

His attorney, Johnson said in an email, is "drafting something now."

This post has been updated.