07/16/2006 11:00PM

Trainer in assault charge


James Jackson, a Michigan-based trainer, has been charged with one count of assault with a dangerous weapon after an altercation last Wednesday with a racing official of Great Lakes Downs.

According to the police in Fruitport Township, Mich., Jackson, 60, was arrested after brandishing a baseball bat at Lawrence Waite, Great Lakes's assistant racing secretary, just outside the stable gate.

No one was seriously injured, according to the police report. Jackson spent a night in the Muskegon jail, and Waite was not arrested.

Daryl Parker, the state steward at Great Lakes, said on Monday that the incident is under investigation and that a hearing has been tentatively scheduled for Saturday.

Parker said that the incident began as a "verbal altercation" in the racing secretary's office.

"This is all just hearsay, but I was told that the argument started after [Jackson] said something derogatory to Waite's mother," who also works in the racing office, Parker said.

Jackson said he was innocent and would fight the charge.

"I can't say a whole lot, but it's not true all the things they are saying about me," Jackson said on Monday. "They say I hit him and jumped on him. Those are lies. They say I cussed in front of [Waite's] mother. That's a lie."

Waite did not return a phone call Monday.