C.J. LeMaster has served as WLBT’s Chief Investigative Reporter since April 2016.
Since then, he’s exposed problems with the Hinds County criminal justice system, highlighted potential secrecy regarding unethical conduct among Mississippi educators, revealed a prison extortion scheme that stretched across the state and investigated municipalities which violated state law by keeping documents from the public.
In one case, the Mississippi Ethics Commission ruled the city of Jackson violated the state's public records act by denying WLBT settlement agreements executed by the city as part of a 3 On Your Side investigation into the spending of taxpayer dollars.
Most recently, exclusive information uncovered during a 3 On Your Side investigation into recent deadly officer-involved shootings and a lack of transparency by the Jackson Police Department helped lead to a reversal in a decades-old city policy that once prevented the release of the names of officers responsible in those shootings.
You can check out C.J.'s latest investigative pieces here.
Before coming to the Capital City as a reporter and weekend anchor in December 2013, C.J. worked at WTVA/WLOV in Tupelo, Mississippi, for nearly a decade in several roles, some of that while pursuing a broadcast journalism degree from Mississippi State.
After graduation, he got hired as a reporter there and then went on to anchor some of the station’s top-rated newscasts.
C.J. was raised in Booneville, where he began his journalism career at Northeast Mississippi Community College. He worked in both print and television during his time in college.
Over the years, C.J. has received more than a dozen Mississippi Associated Press awards ranging from photography to public affairs reporting and achievement. In 2018, C.J.'s investigative piece, 3 On Your Side Investigates: Access Denied won Best Investigative Report in the Southeast Regional Emmy's Excellence in my Market Awards, where journalists from television markets across five states compete. That same year, judges with the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences recognized his investigative work on that story with an Emmy nomination.
In addition, several of C.J.’s stories warranted national coverage: among them, the active shooter situation at Delta State University, the historic April 2011 tornado outbreak and a 2013 ricin investigation that implicated a Mississippi man in a plot to poison President Barack Obama.
When he’s not working, C.J. enjoys finding new restaurants in central Mississippi and exploring the area with a camera to support his photography habit.
If you have something you want C.J. to look into, call the 3 On Your Side Investigates Line at 769-2300-TIP.
2018 Emmy Nomination, Best Investigative Report
2018 Excellence in my Market Award, Best Investigative Report
2017 AP Award, Best Investigative Report (Third Place)
2014 AP Award, Best Spot News
2013 AP Award, Best Feature Photography
2013 AP Award, Achievement
2013 AP Award, Franchise Reporting
2012 AP Award, Achievement
2012 AP Award, Franchise Reporting
2012 AP Award, Best News Photography
2012 AP Award, Best News Photography
2012 AP Award, Spot News Story
2011 AP Award, Best Feature Photography
2010 AP Award, Best Feature Story
2004 Emmy Nomination, First Down on FOX – WLOV-TV
Mississippi State University, Broadcasting/Public Relations
A 3 On Your Side investigation into Mississippi’s election laws reveals a lack of enforcement and transparency governing candidates that run for municipal and county offices, leaving those voters far more vulnerable to potential corruption than those who run for statewide office.
A newly-released grand jury indictment from Madison County gives insight into the investigation law enforcement officers have been working for nearly 15 months, detailing the charges against the man responsible for striking and killing two motorcyclists on a Madison highway.
The Jackson Police Department posted its first updated crime statistics since February, a move that came after questions from 3 On Your Side to members of the JPD command staff over the department’s eight-month delay in providing them to the public.
A dispute over who won the Democratic nomination for a Hinds County supervisor seat could soon be decided by a judge because one of the candidates claims the other doesn’t live in the district he wants to represent.
Jackson city councilmen on Tuesday did something the city hasn’t managed to accomplish in decades: approving a bid to modernize and replace its downtown parking meters, which in turn could bring millions annually to the Capital City’s coffers.
Two central Mississippi hospitals spend millions each year to keep from having to treat the Magnolia State’s most critical trauma patients, 3 On Your Side and Mississippi Today have learned as part of an ongoing series on emergency care services across the state.
Tuesday’s latest court filing cites nearly a dozen reasons why an attorney for Koch Foods believes the federal government illegally searched the company’s Morton facility in August during the largest single-day raid in U.S. history.
At a campaign stop six days before Mississippi’s primary runoff election, GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Waller Jr. said he and his opponent have very different approaches to their campaigns, referring to some of the negative campaign ads that have surfaced since the August primary.
While hundreds of undocumented workers face potential charges and deportation following last week’s massive immigration raid, newly-unsealed court documents show a snapshot of the federal government’s case against the four companies also targeted in this investigation.
With a chuckle and earnest grin, Mississippi gubernatorial candidate Bill Waller Junior makes his way from house to house at this year’s Neshoba County Fair, eager to tell Mississippians who he is and what he plans to do if elected.