(Reuters) - A prominent leader of the Mississippi Tea Party who was arrested in connection with photos posted online of U.S. Senator Thad Cochran's bedridden wife died on Friday of an apparent suicide, the man’s lawyer said.
Mark Mayfield, 58, was vice chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party and a Central Mississippi Tea Party chairperson, according to those organizations' websites.
"This is a terrible tragedy that shouldn’t have happened," Mayfield's lawyer John Reeves told Reuters.
Mayfield was one of three men accused last month of conspiring with a blogger who was charged with taking photos of Cochran's bedridden wife in her nursing home for use in a political video against the incumbent.
Cochran was in the midst of a bitter campaign fight against Tea Party-backed candidate Chris McDaniel. The veteran senator edged out his challenger for the Republican party's nomination in a primary runoff on Tuesday.
Reeves said the criminal case against his client was still in the early stages.
(Reporting by Letitia Stein and Colleen Jenkins Editing by David Adams and Susan Heavey)