City Desk

Marion Barry Arrest: The ‘Stalkee’ Tells What Happened

LL spoke this evening with Donna Watts-Brighthaupt, the 40-year-old woman whom Marion Barry has been charged with stalking.

She does not support the charge: "He does not stalk," she says. "He does what I allow him to do."

Watts-Brighthaupt says she spent some six months in a relationship with Barry, from August, when she traveled with him to the Democratic National Convention, to February, when the romance ended for reasons she declined to discuss.

But the roots of what happened Saturday night, Watts-Brighthaupt says, go back to last Tuesday, when several councilmembers hosted a Wilson Building screening of CNN's Black in America documentary. She attended with her ex-husband, Delonta Brighthaupt, and their children. But Barry, when he learned less than an hour beforehand that Brighthaupt would be in attendance, drafted a memo asking that he be banned from the building. He was kicked out of the event. According to Watts-Brighthaupt, "It was embarrassing."

The incident upset her, and she says she planned to spend time with Barry yesterday in hopes of getting an apology and moving past the situation. The plan was, she says, to attend a party in Rehoboth Beach, Del.; they had stopped for a late lunch in Annapolis, she says, when she realized a reconciliation wasn't going to be possible. "We weren't settling anything; we were going back and forth," she says. "It was going to be a horrible time."

So she decided to drive them both back to Washington. Barry had left his car at Watts-Brighthaupt's Anacostia home, so they returned there shortly after 8 p.m. But there was a problem, she says—her ex-husband was there, watching the family pets. She didn't want Barry and Brighthaupt to encounter each other, so she dropped Barry off there and headed for Anacostia Park to watch the fireworks that were about to begin.

Barry, apparently, didn't leave—after she left, he entered her house and, finding no one, called Watts-Brighthaupt from her porch and asked her to come back, saying her ex-husband wasn't there. Brighthaupt, as it turns out, had left the house to run an errand and was around the corner. His ex-wife still didn't want the two to meet, but she also didn't want Barry going back inside her house, so she called Brighthaupt, who went home and, barely speaking to Barry, locked the door and left. He then walked to a nearby carryout to meet his ex-wife; they planned to go watch the fireworks in the park, hoping Barry would be gone by the time they returned.

Barry, though, had already left in his BMW. By chance, he stopped at the same traffic light as Watts-Brighthaupt and her ex-husband. He noticed them and began to follow them west on Good Hope Road SE. When they passed Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and dipped under I-295 to enter the park, Barry started flashing his high beams and attempting to pull alongside them on the left. "He swerves a little, and he's about to hit my truck," she says. That's when the Park Police officer pulled Barry over; Watts-Brighthaupt says she did nothing to attract his attention.

When the cop got out of his cruiser, Watts-Brighthaupt got out of her vehicle, as well, she says, to tell the cop, "He's following me, make sure that he gets home." The cop ordered her to get back in her car. After speaking to Barry, the cop came back and asked her if she had been in a relationship with Barry and if her ex-husband, riding shotgun, had ever threatened Barry.

She answered yes to the first query, she says, and no to the second, adding, "I have proof."

The officer then went back to speak to Barry again; at this point, he's arrested, she says: "I don't know what Marion said, but next thing he's arrested....Whatever was said by him was the reason he was arrested."

At no point, says Watts-Brighthaupt, did she accuse Barry of stalking her. "I have no intention to press charges," she says.

LL pressed her on Barry's behavior: "There's a lot of proof showing he tries to keep my attention quite a bit," she says, "but I allow it." LL asked if he'll stop doing things if she asks: "He doesn't, but I don't complain. I just teach him a lesson."

As far as lessons go, Watts-Brighthaupt is getting a lesson in Barry's PR strategy, which seems to be aimed at impeaching her reputation. At a press conference today, spokesperson Natalie Williams referred to Watts-Brighthaupt's "instability"—including health and employment problems—and implied that she had asked for financial help, which Barry had oh-so-generously supplied. Barry, she said, felt "betrayed."

Watts-Brighthaupt says she has cancer, and that she hasn't held steady work in two years, but that she has held consulting contracts since. "I'm not destitute," she says. "I never, ever, ever asked Marion for a goddamn thing," she says. "Anything he gave me was of his own free will." That included, she says, a September trip to Jamaica.

As for the supposed financial support: "If we were dating, whose business is it that there were gifts?" she asks. "You call that 'financial support'? I call 'financial support' paying my condo bill." Barry, she says, would come over, "look through my stuff and take some of my bills....He would take care of it on his own."

Watts-Brighthaupt says she just wants Barry to atone for humiliating her and her ex-husband at the Wilson Building last week—possibly, by making a statement clearing him of any wrongdoing. "My husband had never, ever threatened Marion Barry," she says. "We just wanted him to clear what he said three days ago." She says that since the arrest, she hasn't heard from Barry, his lawyer, or anyone else regarding the arrest. If she doesn't hear something soon, Watts-Brighthaupt says, "too much would come out that he doesn't want."

She says there's no personal animus involved here, even what Williams said today: "I'm not mad at him," she says. "I know how he works."

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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  • Darrin D. Davis

    Enough of the drama. When is enough enough Anacostia/Ward 8? I am an Anacostia resident and owner of Anacostia River Realty, and I say it is way past time for Marion Barry to be "retired". How much more embarrassment must he continue to bring onto the residents of Anacostia and Washington, D.C.? With so many positive things happening right now in Anacostia, the last thing we need is having this guy's antics continually bringing shame onto our community.

    Darrin D. Davis, Principal Broker/Owner
    Anacostia River Realty
    http://www.Anacostia River

  • Daddy Grace FIsh Sandwich

    ...ladies and gentleman and that was a brief moment in shameless promotions.

  • StopThePlaya

    "...she hasn’t held steady work in two years, but that she has held consulting contracts since."

    City contracts, perhaps? Worth looking into. If any city contracts were influenced towards her by Barry's words, phone calls, etc., we'd possibly have an instance of city coffers being steered for the intent or purpose of ensuring amorous affection.

  • Radical Honesty

    Dear Ward 8 Residents,

    If you reelect this man in office, you deserve everything that happens to you. I get it that he helped out the community in the past. Remember, the past is the past. He has not done much since and is the laughing stock of DC. Trust me the outside world is watching and is laughing at us.

    P.S. Donna is another story! ((SMH))

  • Tom

    Barry has and always will be a lightning rod for controversy, just read "Dream City" and you can see a consistent pattern of this behavior. Although I have strong negative feelings about his character I must give him credit for managing to never stay down and out of power. I only hope that there are some stars in the making in Ward 8 that can finally turn the page on the Marion Barry era.


    i will tell you that donna has gotton her own contracts by her connections on the hill where she was a lobbiest, but she has sent out emails to her email friends asking for job leads...not getting them from marion barry. but she has told many of us how her husband has beat her for years.

  • The Advoc8te

    Barry should be forced to leave office. As a Ward 8 resident I am embarrassed and ashamed to say this is my representation and I am only one of many who feel the same way.

    When will it end? Obviously the man has no shame. He wont retire on his own so he either needs to retire or be forced out of his seat.

    As for his "girlfriend" and her "contracts" I think we all know what is going on there. It happened through his campaign. Barry's paid "consultants" looked an awful lot like friends and family. Someone should definetly look into this because I am curious to know this woman's credentials and where exactly her consultation skills lie (pun intended) in regards to Barry's campaign.

  • Q

    LL, this is some petty BS, inflated by the Park Police. Watts-Brighthaupt is a {insert derogatory term for manipulative women who takes money, gifts, favors, from a man but feigns innocence}. Hopefully this teaches Barry a lesson about these types of women. Especially since her claim is that she wants Barry to ATONE for humiliating her ex-husband by having him removed at a Wilson Bldg event. How about she ATONE or stop taking "gifts" or "donations" from Barry.

    I am by no means exonerating Barry for his conduct, but really...had this happened to LL (in a jilted love scenario), the only people who would care about this is the WCP readers...and a few miscreants at WaPo and The Examiner. Because this happened to Barry, all of a sudden this is District- and Nation-wide news.

    Headline should be, "Barry gets arrested for being a former mayor who vehicularly followed a vindictive, manipulative ex-lover."

    Seriously LL, this type of stuff gives TRUE STALKING and Domestic Violence victims a bad name. Because of DC's Zero Tolerance Laws, all it takes is a veiled intent to get a charge. How come the Officer didn't charge Barry with wreckless driving or failure to maintain control of his vehicle.

  • candycane1

    Barry, leaver her alone. she's playing you. She got to places the ex couldn't provide. DNC and other political events. Find a woman with a job, drug free, sane and with a "no drama" clause in her profile. You are too old for the drama.

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  • http://GOOGLE sam

    I was told about the joke of a Mayor DC had 21 years ago when I was planning to visit.

    Living here-it is not a funny joke.
    He continues to claim he is a victim of others .
    He has victimized himself and taught younger generations how to cheat lie ,drug and ruin an otherwise grand opportunity for good.
    He was gifted and turned his back on the gifts!


  • Pingback: Marion Barry Arrest: The Brighthaupt Memo - City Desk - Washington City Paper

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  • Radical Honesty

    It is bad When Wendy Williams out of New York expressed her embarrassment for all of us here in DC.

  • Pingback: WCP Reports: Barry Doesn’t Like Being Stalked - City Desk - Washington City Paper

  • StopThePlaya

    ANYBODY BUT FENTY wrote: "i will tell you that donna has gotton her own contracts by her connections on the hill where she was a lobbiest (sic)"

    oh yeah? wanna rethink that? we knew this was coming:

  • Robert Vinson Brannum

    For the record, the Fifth District Citizens' Advisory Council, Inc. also served as a host and was the primary organizer of the CNN screening of "Black In America 2" held at the John A. Wilson Building.

    Robert Vinson Brannum
    Fifth District Citizens' Advisory Council, Inc.

  • DBrighthaupt

    Robert Vinson Brannum - lol i really needed that plug. I'm sorry sir, had we been able to stay, I might have remembered that. I really wished to have been there. You had great panalists - didn't notice that extra panalist on the original flyer though.


  • http://MSN ME&YOU

    maybe i misread ..but who leaves their door unlocked anymore ? how did marion get into the home ? why did the husband have to meet donna around the corner ? the ex watching the pets .,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, so she was leaving for a few days //ex in charge of watching pets ..must be a dam good relationship to know that your ex wife is with another man doing whatever an you are at home pet setting ... oh well i guess he felt in the limelight when he thought that he was going to see the movie !! marion didnt like that he than was in control .... its more to this story ..let the truth be told

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  • former college mate

    I am behind you Donna.