Melton's MBN Lawsuit: A Timeline

Dec. 4, 2002—Gov. Ronnie Musgrove appoints former WLBT executive Frank Melton head of Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.

April 17, 2003—MBN employee Roy Sandefer distributes a memo, alleging complaints of theft of state property, the falsification of overtime records and the transfer of agency planes to curry political favor.

April 17, 2003—Melton leaks memo to The Clarion-Ledger's Washington reporter, Ana Radelat.

April 18, 2003M—Story on unnamed-source memo appears in Clarion-Ledger.

April 29, 2003—Robert Earl Pierce and Jimmy Saxton file suit against Frank Melton and Warren Buchanan.

January 2004—Melton dismissed by Gov. Haley Barbour from MBN post.

March 18, 2005—State Auditor Phil Bryant discredits most of MBN memo, including charges against Pierce and Saxton.

March 30 2005—Pierce files suit against The Clarion-Ledger for defamation. (The Clarion-Ledger does not report about the Meridian lawsuits, or its role in them, again until after Melton, whom it endorses, is inaugurated as mayor.)

April 19, 2005—Melton responds to interrogatories from attorneys for Robert Earl Pierce and Jimmy Saxton, saying repeatedly that he had not given The Clarion-Ledger reporter the memo.

July 7, 2005—Melton changes his sworn statement, saying, "I faxed a copy of the memorandum that I received from Sandifer (sic) to Ana Radelat.

Aug. 25, 2005—Judge Bailey grants the plaintiffs' motion to strike Melton's answer and enter a default judgment against him due to Melton's lies under oath.

Nov. 3, 2005—Melton's insurance company, Allstate, files a related complaint in federal court, saying both plaintiffs and defendants in Pierce v. Melton should look elsewhere for damage money. The complaint, Allstate v. Frank Melton, calls Melton's "persistent refusal to correct his false interrogatory responses" a "willful and knowing provision of false information to the insurance company." The company then deemed Melton's false statements and "concealment of truth" to be "a breach of all three insurance contracts and, therefore, Defendant Melton has no liability coverage under any of the three policies issued by Allstate."

Nov. 13, 2005— Judge Bailey imposes a continuation of the case, resetting the trial date to April 3, 2006, much to the dismay of plaintiff attorneys.

Oct. 20, 2005—Melton's attorneys argue over whether Melton should be sued as a private individual or if the state has to shoulder the financial burden of a civil suit against him. They claim that the former MBN head's actions fell within the scope and course of his employment by the state, and that he cannot be sued as an individual. The Mississippi Tort Claims Act shields government employees from paying damages, so long as they act within the scope of their duty.

That same day, Judge Bailey grants Melton's defense attorney, Dale Danks' request for a gag order after Danks complains that a Jackson television reporter said she'd arrived at the court expecting Melton to be led out of the civil courtroom in handcuffs.

March 29, 2006—Melton files an emergency petition in the Mississippi Supreme Court to appeal Bailey's rule to strike his defense. Attorneys Dale Danks, Michael Cory and James Metz argue that Melton wants to present the full picture in his defense. And, they say, he did step up and correct his lie within three months, after all. The Supreme Court throws out Melton's appeal within hours.

April 3, 2006—Bailey grants yet another continuance to the Meridian lawsuit, delaying the case until Oct. 2, 2006.

April 18, 2006—In a related case, Melton files a civil lawsuit against The Clarion-Ledger for damages in the Hinds County Circuit Court, alleging breach of contract in the case filed by Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics agents. Melton claims he had an "oral contract" with the paper for it to do the job for him and factcheck the information it contained.

June 23, 2006—U.S. District Judge Tom S. Lee grants The Clarion-Ledger's motion for summary judgment on whether Robert Pierce can join a lawsuit filed by Frank Melton for breach of contract, finding that there was no enforceable contract between Melton and Goliath.

Sept. 8, 2006—Danks files a motion in district court to withdraw as Melton's attorney in the lawsuit in which Allstate Insurance Company is suing Melton. The insurance company is still claiming that it should not be responsible for Melton's monetary damages in the lawsuit.

Oct. 2, 2006—The damages phase of the Meridian lawsuit began, with Melton and other witnesses giving testimony before Judge Bailey and television cameras.

Previous Comments


Melton shot Danks' defense strategy to hell and back during yesterday's testimony. Melton said that Saxton was a great employee and if given the opportunity, he would hire him back. Is this guy CRAZY or does he just talk NUTS?



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