Fielder Grants MPB Interview

Stevie Fielder of Meridian says Mississippi's Attorney General's Office misunderstood him, which led to the false belief Fielder was paid by candidate Chris McDaniel's campaign to lie.

A.G. Jim Hood's office last week said Fielder told its investigators a McDaniel staffer paid him to make allegations of vote-buying against Sen. Thad Cochran's campaign.

Fielder spoke by phone with Mississippi Public Broadcasting, but has failed to appear several times for an interview with Newscenter 11.

Fielder says he's sticking by his claims that Cochran's campaign tried to get him to pay black Meridian residents to vote Republican for Cochran, something he now says he refused to do. Fielder says it was Cochran staffer Saleem Baird who tried to bribe him.

"And he said, we're actually talking about paying people $15.00 a person if they'll go, actually, and vote. And that's when I told him I wouldn't accept any money to go out and do anything other than what I normally did," said Fielder in the MPB interview. "Make black people understand that they could vote Republican, you know."

Fielder did tell MPB that McDaniel spokesman, Noel Fritsch, is the one who paid him to interview with conservative blogger Charles C. Johnson, although Johnson said publicly last month he was the one who paid Fielder.

Fielder also told MPB that it was Fritsch who directed him to tell Johnson what he calls a hypothetical story of paying black Meridian residents to vote for Cochran, even though it didn't actually happen.

"I had to put myself in the situation as if I had actually taken the bribe to do this," Fielder told MPB. "So that's the only way we could really get that out to the people to know what they wanted me to do."

Fielder says investigators in the attorney general's office misunderstood him, and he did not tell anyone that McDaniel's campaign paid him to lie.


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