City Desk

Marion Barry Press Conference: God Intervenes

From Jason Cherkis, who is covering today's Marion Barry press conference:

The Ward 8 Councilmember refused to answer reporters' questions about public contracts he awarded and then revoked from his former girlfriend, Donna Watts-Brighthaupt. Instead, this latest standup would be a "single-issue" presser on his arrest by the U.S. Park Police on a stalking charge and the U.S. Attorney throwing out that charge.

Upon leaving, Barry did respond to Washington City Paper's release of the voicemails he left for Watts-Brighthaupt and its cover displaying her quote: "You put me out in Denver 'cause I wouldn't suck your dick," as "trashcan reporting."

Barry began his remarks by thanking God for "intervening in the situation."

The arrest, he says, caused him "great pain....My mother called me the day after the arrest. She's 92 years of age. This could have caused her to have a heart attack or a stroke." The mother of his godson also called him and reported her kids were being teased regarding Barry's stalking charge.

The whole matter could have been avoided had the U.S. Park Police not erroneously arrested him, Barry continued, explaining that he was simply going home on the night of July 4. He says "90 percent of the time" he does go home by way of Anacostia Park because it is "serene. I don't hear gunshots. I don't hear ambulances."

When questioned about public funds appropriated to Watts-Brighthaupt, Barry indicated he would not answer and that this press conference was not the time.

His spokesperson, Natalie Williams, also spoke—essentially re-reading her statement from last night and reiterating that Barry has said from the beginning he never stalked "Miss Watts." Her statement was followed by Barry's lawyer, Fred Cooke, who said the U.S. Attorney's Office made "the right decision. We think this arrest never should have happened."

A reporter then asked Cooke if his client had violated his probation. Cooke responded: "He has not reoffended as the law requires."

Photos By Darrow Montgomery

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