- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 11, 2014

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A Mississippi prosecutor says he is looking into courthouse security issues - and not criminal charges - involving how a staffer for Republican Chris McDaniel’s U.S. Senate campaign and two others ended up locked inside the building the night of the June 3 primary election.

“I’m not aiming for criminal charges,” District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith told The Clarion-Ledger (https://on.thec-l.com/SMJhAH ).

“We are looking at security issues,” Smith said Tuesday.

The Hinds County Sheriff’s Department said this week that it had concluded that Janis Lane, Scott Brewster and Rob Chambers did nothing criminal. They apparently walked into the Hinds County Courthouse shortly before 2 a.m. June 4 and called for help after realizing they were locked in.

Brewster is McDaniel’s campaign coalition coordinator, Lane is president of the board of the Central Mississippi Tea Party and Chambers is a consultant with the Mississippi Baptist Christian Action Commission.

Noel Fritsch, spokesman for candidate Chris McDaniel, said last week that the three went to check on why some precincts hadn’t been counted.

Incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran and McDaniel are in a June 24 runoff.

Smith said Tuesday his investigation wasn’t motivated by the U.S. Senate race. Smith said his office will interview witnesses beyond those interviewed by the sheriff’s department. A sheriff’s department official reported last week that an investigation was launched after the stories of the three individuals were inconsistent.

Smith said looking at courthouse security is warranted after the incident because of the numerous delicate files stored in the courthouse, including those in his office.

There is no recorded video of after-hours activities.

___

Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, https://www.clarionledger.com

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