City Desk

Barry Has Had Months To Respond To Scandal; Should D.C. Council Give Him Another Week?

Councilmember Marion S. Barry Jr. has until Tuesday to formally respond to the evidence put forth against him in the Bennett Report. Several of his council colleagues told WaPo that they wanted to wait to see Barry's rebuttal before possibly censuring him. I'm all about respecting the process. But hasn't Barry had enough time to defend himself?

Much of this scandal broke after his July 4th stalking arrest. Soon after, Barry and/or his staff held multiple press conferences outside the Wilson Building. Instead of coming clean, his spokesperson read statements that simply bashed the character of Barry's former-girlfriend Donna Watts-Brighthaupt. [And in secret, Barry continued to pursue her]. Barry's own response centered on threatening to sue the U.S. Park Police for properly arresting him in the first place. He also firmly believed that there was nothing wrong in hiring girlfriends.

As Bennett's investigation went into high gear, Barry used that time to keep tabs on witnesses, and pressure Watts-Brighthaupt to not hand over critical evidence. Barry also sat for his own deposition. If there was a time he could have presented his rebuttal to Bennett's charges, that would be the time. Instead, he refused to answer certain questions, played dumb in other instances, and referred to those kickbacks as "loans." Bennett's people found his answers to not be so credible.

As Catania told WaPo:

"These are very serious allegations. The conclusions — they are not allegations, they are conclusions — by our special counsel amount to the fact that Marion took kickbacks" from a former girlfriend, Catania said. "The council does not have the authority to remove Mr. Barry from office. That responsibility rests with the voters of Ward 8. But we do have the authority to determine which committee he sits on and whether or not he chairs a committee."

No one on the D.C. Council expects Barry to suddenly come up with evidence that will save him. So why wait to start deliberating on what to do?

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  • Erik Wemple

    Look, you can't be "all about respecting the process" while at the same time urging a hurryup offense on the Barry-censure process.

  • Tom

    Are you on some kind of crusade? Did Barry do something to you personally? Relax let due process take it's course and in 6 months you can be outraged by the next Barry scandal

  • hymesb

    I agree. Take time. Hey how about we just wait until next year. No hurry.

    Like I said, Gray ain't doing crap to Barry. He is his beeotch

  • Jason Cherkis

    Not a crusade, just think it's a little silly to expect much from Barry by Tuesday. He's shown zero respect for the process!

  • Typical DC BS

    Next questions should be: A) What are the odds that Barry (or other members of the DC Council) will be indicted for misuse of public funds? and B) No matter whether Barry is charged / convicted of anything related to this scandal, will he STILL be reelected by Ward 8?

  • Truth Hurts

    Gray doesn't need a week to respond to the important issue. Which is: what is the council doing about earmarks?

    As for Barry, give him forever. He won't change, so what's an extra week?

  • Rick Mangus

    This CLOWN should not be given another minute!

  • Tom

    Well then yeah your right it is silly to expect anything from him. He's been doing this same kind of stuff since the 70's. The only thing we can hope for is retirement otherwise he will just end up like Robert Byrd, because Ward 8 will never vote against him.
    Even if they strip him of his chairmanship I dont know if this will stop him from doing his usual crap

  • The Advoc8te

    Quiet as kept there is a large number of folks in Ward 8 (including "supposed" Barry faithful) who are waiting for the City Council to grow a pair and publicly DEMAND that he resign. The feeling over here is that Barry is too big and too curropt to beat without some support - some very public support from The Council, ENH, The Mayor and the rest. By not even being able to come out and speak frankly and clearly that BARRY IS NOT ONLY AN EMBARRASSMENT TO WARD 8 BUT THE CITY it sends the message that the Council is afraid of Barry and this alleged mob of support. The truth of the matter is that it really is a hall of mirrors. Most of his faithful are too tired or too currupt or too scared to put their necks out too far from him. The demographic in Ward 8 is changing and they are vocal. You don't see them in the "man on the street" interviews given by Fox 5 because they are at work during the day or realize they don't need to go on camera to think Barry is a creep - and to be quiet honest I don't think it makes a good story to show a lot of Ward 8 residents on camera who think Barry is a creep who should resign. It makes a better "story" to make it appear as if every Ward 8 resident is incompetent or a sadist.

    What a great story it would be if someone came into the community took a Barry "supporter" and really explained to them what these bogus non-profits cost them the individual and just how much money went to Barry's friends. The old people here don't go online, they don't read the City Paper (hard to get a paper copy here btw) and they don't have a lot of access to comprehensive news. Most of the stuff they hear about is word of mouth and no one has really come to them and connected the dots on what this tomfoolery and curruption is costing them and that there are other options - that Ward 8 does have competent, ethical leadership that is not going to rob them blind or kick them out of their houses.

    If you go to Big Chair Coffee and ask the room who thinks Barry needs to do and 98% of the people in the room will raise their hand.

    His support is crumbling and fast but the residents are looking for the Council to stop acting like skiddish little girls and stop being afraid of him and show him the door.

  • The Advoc8te

    Everytime Barry gets in trouble or has another health scare the "Barry (Political) Death Watch" begins. It sounds horrible but it's true. His potential challengers start making peeps and lining up.

  • JayAre

    The sad thing is whenever and whomever take over when he leaves the Council, I beleive that person will play the game like the rest of the CM's. Remember...POWER CORRUPTS, and the higher a person goes up, the more crooked politics becomes.
    But that will be another story at the appropriate time for the media.

  • JayAre

    Remember Michael Corleone said ' criminals and politicians are one and the same. There is too much money floating , favors need to be repaid, etc.

  • Skipper

    If there were an eleciton tomorrow in Ward 8, Barry would win with 90+% of the vote. Only way he leaves office is in a box. It's the only job he can have that actually pays him a salary. What else is he supposed to do to pay the rent? He's never actually held a real job in the private sector.

  • The Advoc8te

    If he had no political donors and his campaign coffers were empty or strictly monitored -because it's common knowledge they were fast and loose - then I doubt he could win without the kickbacks, throwbacks and "consultant" payments. Instead of blaming the residents of Ward 8 how about throwing a little bit of blame at the folks who contribute financially to his campaigns - those aren't Ward 8 folks writing the big checks.

    Jason/Mike - Who's responsibility is it to audit campaign contributions and spending to make sure they are legit and has anyone ever done an audit? Sounds to me like that would be the next logical investigation.

  • Truth Hurts

    yeah, Check out Gray's campaign contributions last election. I seem to remember Barry giving $ to Gray at the same time he owed taxes to DC and the Feds. I may be mistaken, but I don't think so.

  • Skipper

    Sorry Advoc8te, but the folks that vote for Barry are the ones to blame for Barry.

  • Rick Mangus

    The people in Ward 8, have to be the most gullable, biggest morons on the face of the earth, with the self esteem of a crack whore. Give this pathetic part of the city back to the state of Maryland, they embarass the rest of us who live here!