The vice chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party has died of an apparent suicide after being charged in connection with photos taken of Republican Sen. Thad Cochran’s bedridden wife, the man’s lawyer told Reuters.

In this photo released Thursday, May 22, 2014, by the Madison Police Department, shows attorney Mark Mayfield. Investigators say a Mississippi tea party official and two other men arrested Thursday conspired with a conservative blogger to use photographs of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran's ill wife to push allegations that the longtime Republican senator was involved in an inappropriate relationship with another woman. (AP Photo/Madison Police Department)

This photo released by the Madison Police Department shows attorney Mark Mayfield. Investigators say a Mississippi tea party official and two other men conspired to use photos of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran’s ill wife to push allegations that he was involved in an inappropriate relationship with another woman. (AP Photo/Madison Police Department)

Mark Mayfield, 58, was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot Friday at his home, the Clarion-Ledger reported.

“This is a terrible tragedy that shouldn’t have happened,” Mayfield’s attorney John Reeves said.

The Clarion-Ledger has more on the photo scandal:

Mayfield … is one of the three men charged with conspiring with Clayton Kelly to photograph U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran’s bedridden wife in her nursing home and create a political video against Cochran.

Mark Mayfield of Ridgeland, an attorney and state and local tea party leader, was arrested last month along with Richard Sager, a Laurel elementary school P.E. teacher and high school soccer coach. Police said they also charged John Beachman Mary of Hattiesburg, but he was not taken into custody because of “extensive medical conditions.” All face felony conspiracy charges. Sager also was charged with felony tampering with evidence, and Mary faces two conspiracy counts.

The scandal occurred in the thick of the Mississippi GOP primary battle between Cochran and Tea Party-backed state Sen. Chris McDaniel. McDaniel has denied any involvement in the matter.

Cochran defeated McDaniel on Tuesday in a controversial runoff election.

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