The Clarion-Ledger, 3/21/9

Mayor Frank Melton’s attorney said in a filing in federal court Friday that he is not trying to influence the racial makeup of his client’s next federal jury.

At the same time, he restated his opposition to drawing a panel for Melton’s May 11 retrial from the state’s six coastal counties because those counties do not have enough potential African American jurors.

The motion likely is Melton’s final attempt to stop a prosecution plan to select a jury from the coastal counties for his second federal trial.

“Defendant Melton requests that the jury be selected from a fair cross-section of his community,” Melton’s attorney, former state Rep. John Reeves, wrote.

In an order signed earlier this month, U.S. District Court Judge Dan Jordan agreed with prosecutors that jurors from the coastal counties were less likely to have been influenced by media coverage during the federal trial last month.