Mayor may represent himself

Jackson Mayor Frank Melton said he may represent himself when he goes to federal court today for his first appearance on civil rights charges.

“Or I might let the judge appoint me an attorney and let the government pay for the whole thing,” he said Tuesday.

“Eighty-eight percent of the people put me in office,” he said, referring to his margin of victory in the 2005 general election. “If (federal investigators) don’t want me there, then let the voters take me out. This is just so unfair, and it’s just not right.”

As in state court, federal public defenders are available solely for indigent clients. Melton said he is financially solvent, but he said the cost of defending himself is a burden.

Melton said he believes that is the intent of federal investigators.

“I know them because I’ve worked with them over 20 years. What they are trying to do right now is financially break me,” he said.

“(The federal authorities) did give the indictments to Mayor Danks, which I appreciate very much,” he said. “It has nothing to do with his law firm. It has nothing to do them. It’s just – I’m tired. This is a civil matter.”

Steffey said he believes each man eventually will be represented by separate attorneys, in part because of Melton’s central role in the alleged civil rights conspiracy. “There is going to be immense pressure on Wright and Recio to cooperate (with federal authorities), so an inevitable conflict will come up,” he said.

Melton said he believes the FBI harbors a grudge against him from his stint as director of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.

Melton said the FBI warned him to stay away from Wood Street in Jackson. “I couldn’t do that because they were killing people,” he said.

Clarion Ledger
7/16/8