- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 13, 2014

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) - The perjury trial of former Jackson County sheriff’s Lt. Ken McClenic is set for July 7 before Special Judge Michael Ward.

McClenic was indicted in January. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and fined $10,000.

The Sun Herald reports (https://bit.ly/1mRzS8A ) McClenic was scheduled for trial Monday, but Jackson County judges recused themselves from hearing the case. Ward, who served over the years in Harrison County as a county court judge, youth court judge and family court judge, was appointed by the Mississippi Supreme Court.

An indictment alleges McClenic lied to a grand jury hearing evidence against former Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd. McClenic’s testimony resulted in Byrd being indicted on a felony charge of intimidating an officer in the discharge of his duties and tampering with a witness.

The charges accused Byrd of pressuring McClenic to make an arrest in a murder so Byrd could say he had no unsolved murders in his campaign for re-election in 2007.

McClenic told the grand jury Byrd ordered him to sign an affidavit for the arrest of Robert McKee on a charge of murder though McClenic told the grand jury he did not believe McKee committed the crime.

In September, during a hearing in an unrelated case challenging McClenic’s credibility as a witness, McClenic backed off his testimony, saying then he believed he had obtained the affidavit to arrest McKee on the murder charge because McKee had confessed and provided details about the crime no one else had.

After McClenic changed his testimony, Circuit Judge Robert Krebs ordered all of McClenic’s grand jury testimony in July, along with any exhibits and McClenic’s testimony at the hearing in September, turned over to the attorney general’s office to investigate.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com

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