County Official: ‘Too Many Unanswered Questions’ In Courthouse Caper

June 9, 2014 1:14 p.m.

When the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department concluded its investigation into the trio of supporters of state Sen. Chris McDaniel’s (R-MS) U.S. campaign getting locked in the Hinds County Courthouse late on the night of the Mississippi primary (after that building had been closed and locked), that wasn’t good enough for Hinds County Supervisor Robert Graham (pictured, left). So Graham asked Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith to investigate and late Friday the Clarion-Ledger of Mississippi reported that Smith agreed to have his office investigate the incident.

“My thinking behind this is that there are too many unanswered questions, the sheriff’s department conducted an investigation and it’s my belief that it was not a thorough investigation,” Graham told TPM on Monday.

“If it had been a thorough investigation they would have at least talked to the first person that was called once the individuals found out that they were locked in the building,” Graham said. “They called our maintenance man, I just finished talking with him 30 minutes ago —and our maintenance man said that he had looked over at the clock because he knew it had to be in the middle of the morning and his clock said 3:12. He also has a county phone and he showed him this county phone where his county phone, there was a call from a county building at 3:12. … Nobody ever talked with him.”

TPM pointed out that Hinds County Republican executive chairman Pete Perry had previously said that he was the first one to receive a call from the three McDaniel supporters locked in the building — Central Mississippi Tea Party President Janis Lane, McDaniel supporter Rob Chambers, and McDaniel campaign coalitions director Scott Brewster— at 2 a.m. CT. Graham said that the information he received said that Perry was the first one to receive a call from the trio, but Perry couldn’t help them so Perry called the sheriff’s department who called the maintenance man.

Graham said once you’re inside the Hinds County Courthouse it’s fairly easy to go virtually anywhere in the building.

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McDaniel supporters have said that essentially anyone pushing an investigation are really doing it to help Cochran. But Graham said he’s a Democrat and therefore isn’t a Cochran supporter.

“I’m a Democrat. I’m a Democrat, I’ve run as a Democrat, I’ve been elected two times as a Democrat, I’m a lifelong Democrat,” Graham said. “I’ve never voted Republican a day in my life.”

Image: Hinds County Board of Supervisors website.

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