- Associated Press - Thursday, August 4, 2016

OLIVE BRANCH, Miss. (AP) - The aggravated assault case against a Mississippi state senator has been postponed, with each side giving a different reason.

Sen. Chris Massey, a Republican from Nesbit, is accused of hurting a man with a shovel during an argument with lawn care workers on July 7. Massey’s father and two men from the lawn care company also are charged.

A municipal court hearing was put off until Oct. 6 to give attorneys time to work out a settlement, Massey’s attorney, Steve Farese, told The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/2aWuKBh) after an initial appearance Thursday in Olive Branch Municipal Court.

“The attorneys and prosecutors all got together and discussed when would be a good day to regroup and meet again to see if there’s common ground,” he said.

But lawn service operator Anthony Smith, who is charged with simple assault, said the delay is to give time to get statements from neighborhood residents who saw the fight. Smith said he was not aware of any efforts by his attorney, John Keith Perry, to settle out of court.

An employee of Smith’s, Marcus Lane, and Massey’s father, Jackie Gayron Massey, both are charged with aggravated assault.

According to police, Smith said Massey’s vehicle was blocking a road in the upscale Windstone subdivision, which led to swinging shovels, wrestling on the ground and spitting. Lane also accused Massey of threatening to shoot him, the police report said.

Massey said in an emailed statement that authorities had distributed incorrect information and he expects to be exonerated.

Massey, 45, is chairman of the state Senate Ethics Committee and vice chairman of the Housing Committee.

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Information from: The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com

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