The Sun Herald, 10/14/8

Embattled Jackson Mayor Frank Melton says he’s willing to testify that one of his bodyguards, a co-defendant in a federal criminal trial, did not participate in the sledge hammer attack on a house the mayor called a drug den.

Melton, 59, and two police bodyguards were charged in July with the 2006 destruction of a duplex that the mayor considered a haven for illegal activity. One of the bodyguards, Marcus Wright, struck a deal with prosecutors last week and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.

The other bodyguard, Michael Recio, asked the court Monday for the second time to be tried separately from Melton. Melton and Recio have pleaded not guilty. Recio wants to call Melton to testify and he believes that having a separate trial is the best way to make that happen.

In a signed affidavit submitted Monday in U.S. District Court in Jackson, the mayor said he would testify that, “At no time did Michael Recio participate in any way in any activity aimed at the destruction of the house or did he participate in any official observation of the events in question.”