Mississippi Supreme Court hears McDaniel versus Cochran case - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Mississippi Supreme Court hears McDaniel versus Cochran case

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The state's highest court will decide if Chris McDaniel's lawsuit will get another chance in trial court. Arguments in the case were held Thursday and lasted nearly two hours. Neither Thad Cochran nor Chris McDaniel was in the courtroom.

The Mississippi Supreme Court won't decide if the Chris McDaniel versus Thad Cochran election was a fair one. Instead, the justices will determine if McDaniel waited too long to file his challenge. His attorney Mitch Tyner's gave this conclusion in the courtroom.

"There is no deadline in which to file his challenge," Tyner told the justices.

Tyner said election laws were rewritten in 1986 and don't mention a deadline. Cochran's attorney Phil Abernathy disagreed.He cited a 1959 Supreme Court ruling that gives a 20 day deadline.

"While the statutes have been tweaked and changed in minor forms throughout the years the time to follow an election contest deadline has never been changed," Abernathy explained during oral arguments.

Ultimately, McDaniel's legal team wants the court to revive their lawsuit that was dismissed by a trial judge in August. They aren't ready to put their 400 plus page challenge to bed.

"It's very important and we want to do it all in one trial all in one case and that would be back in Jones County," said Tyner.

Cochran's attorney Mark Garriga is hoping it doesn't make it past this court.

"Senator Cochran has said before that he has complete faith in the Mississippi judiciary and that's true today too," explained Garriga. "He has complete faith in the Mississippi Supreme Court will confirm the ruling of the trial court. And we're glad that this will soon be behind us we hope."

Tyner said the challenge could find new life with a first amendment challenge, in yet another court.

"That claim can still be filed, that claim to be filed in federal court even if the court chooses to dismiss this particular challenge," said Tyner.

Mark Garriga say it concerns him for them to make that statement.

"I mean, they blamed everybody in the world for losing the election," he described. "They blamed the trial court for losing the lawsuit. And if they lose today they want to blame other people. You know it's time for all that to be over with."

The justices did not specify when they expect to have a ruling.

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