The Clarion-Ledger, 12/9/8

Mayor Frank Melton alleges in a federal court filing Monday that he was responding to a plea for help from the resident of a west Jackson duplex he is accused of helping damage.

The motion is the latest in a series of filings between Melton’s attorney and federal prosecutors in advance of his Jan. 5 trial on federal civil rights violations. Melton’s attorney, John Reeves, has argued jurors must be instructed to weigh whether the mayor had an “evil motive” on Aug. 28, 2006, when he allegedly led a band of sledgehammer-wielding youths in an assault on a house on Ridgeway Street.

After the incident, Melton alleged the house was used to sell drugs, but only recently has his legal team suggested the mayor was there at the invitation of tenant Evans Welch.

“The mayor would not have been at the location in question but for the persistent criminal activity taking place there and the occupant’s request for the mayor’s assistance to get out of the negative environment in which he lived,” the motion states.