Melton Says He Lied

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Former Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics director Frank Melton told a judge in Meridian that he lied for more than two years when he said he didn't leak an MBN investigative memo to a newspaper reporter. Melton, who took office last month as mayor of Jackson, took the stand in Lauderdale County Circuit Court Monday to explain his actions.

Melton said he made a stupid mistake and owed the court a very serious apology. He said he assumed he had First Amendment protection. The earlier statements about the leaked memo were made in Lauderdale County Circuit Court documents filed in response to a lawsuit against Melton when he Bureau of Narcotics director.

In April 2003, an internal bureau memo was given to a reporter for The Clarion-Ledger newspaper in Jackson, which published a story based on its contents.

The memo questioned the actions of retired MBN agent Robert Earl Pierce and current MBN agent Jimmy Saxton involving the use of government equipment and aircraft.

Pierce and Saxton filed a lawsuit claiming that the allegations were false and had caused them emotional distress. The lawsuit was expanded to include assertions of libel and invasion of privacy.