Melton trial delayed

U.S. District Court Judge Dan Jordan this morning agreed to a request by defense attorneys to delay the civil rights violation trial of Jackson Mayor Frank Melton and his former bodyguard until January.

Defense attorneys had told the judge they needed more time to review thousands of pages of prosecution material.

Jury selection was slated to begin Wednesday. The new trial will begin January 5.

Melton and ex-bodyguard Michael Recio are facing a three-count indictment charging them with violating the constitutional prohibition on unreasonable search and seizure in an Aug. 26, 2006, police-style raid on a Ridgeway Street duplex in northwest Jackson. According to prosecutors, Melton instructed several young men to attack the house with sledgehammers and participated in the destruction himself, while Recio and fellow bodyguard Marcus Wright stood guard.

Wright also was indicted but has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor conspiracy and agreed to testify for the prosecution.

Jordan said Monday he already was concerned the case would bridge the holiday weekend, meaning he would have to send jurors home for four days where they could be influenced by family members or news coverage of the trial.

Clarion Ledger