Harper Reacts to Vote-Buying Allegations

Stevie Fielder is sticking to his original story that he was paid to buy votes by the Cochran campaign. But many others, including Congressman Gregg Harper, say you shouldn't be so quick to believe it.

"Allegations of someone who was paid for their story first of all..." he says.

Charles C. Johnson, the reporter who ran the story, admits that he paid Fielder for that interview. Congressman Harper says he believes it's that money that's fueling these allegations, and he doesn't think Fielder's details add up.

"And then to say yes there were money in envelopes and the email says they had to have names and addresses," Harper continues. "You think there's going to be names and addresses for votes being bought? So that's just something that's I believe fabricated by this gentleman. It's unfortunate that it was a paid for story."

In his story, Fielder claimed to be an associate pastor at First Union Missionary Baptist Church in Meridian. But church members have debunked that.

"The story said that he is the associate pastor of a local church, and that church says, 'Not here.' Now, come on," Harper says. "This is something that what his motivation is, I don't know. But there's nothing there but perhaps a fraud being perpetrated by him."

Church members aren't the only ones to question Fielder's credibility. In the past, Fielder has been prosecuted twice for home repair fraud. And Circuit Clerk Donna Jill Johnson says she has not noticed any voting irregularities for Lauderdale County during this runoff.

Fielder said at 11 this morning, he wanted to discuss his allegations. He called again 20 minutes later to set up a new meeting place for the interview, and then again just a couple hours later to cancel entirely.