City Desk

The Reason Why Prosecutors May Not Charge Barry

Donna Watts-Brighthaupt

On Tuesday, Robert S. Bennett laid out an astonishingly detailed case against Ward 8 Councilmember Marion S. Barry Jr. and concluded that the matter should be referred to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Bennett's conclusion raises the rather comical notion that the U.S. Attorney's Office consists of a bunch of bureaucrats sitting around the office waiting for "referrals" to come across the fax machine.

In fact, the federal prosecutors that oversee crime and justice in the District need no stamped-and-signed invitation to take on a case. When news broke last summer concerning Barry's controversial business and personal relationship with Donna Watts-Brighthaupt, law enforcement officials soon began looking into the allegations. They quizzed Watts-Brighthaupt, who refuses to say how many meetings she had with the law.

And so far, prosecutors have not charged Barry with kickbacks or directing money to fishy nonprofits staffed by supporters. The Bennett report may read like a slam dunk. A jury may not see it that way.

Prosecutors may be showing restraint for one reason: Donna Watts, on the witness stand. Just watch her interview with Fox 5. Or read our interview with her earlier this week about those kickbacks.

Today, City Desk reached Watts at her home asked her about the prospect of a criminal prosecution.

"I hope it doesn't go there," Watts says.

Watts went on to say:

"I hope that [Barry] won't have to be prosecuted. I don't think it warrants the U.S. Attorney's Office. I don't think it should go that far, really I don't. Not for what he did with me.... I hope the people we elected as our leaders will exemplify true leadership...research..ask the right questions...and deal with this problem internally."

Would you testify?

"I haven't thought about it," Watt says.

"As far as Marion is concerned, let's just say I hope the truth, the entire truth is revealed," Watts says.  "And the council will take all into account before deciding Marion's fate."

*file photo by Darrow Montgomery.

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  • Keith

    Ms. Watts-Brighthaupt has handled herself with class through out this whole debacle. If I was in her shoes, and my name and veracity were getting dragged through the dirt by the Press and Council member Barry, I would've rained down hell and brimstone on all parties involved. She is truly taking the high road.

  • Rick Mangus

    If this clown is not charged and put away, then there is something sad about our judicial system!

    As far as this nut case, Donna Watts-Brighthaupt, she needs an extended stay in at St. Elizabeth's.

  • Contrarian

    The U.S. Attorney will want to be absolute sure they can prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt before they chose to prosecute. With this lot there is a whole lot of doubt...

  • dbrighthaupt

    @Keith - Thank you sir! Someone who's taken all views into account before commenting is valued. WCP knows how much I appreciate an objective comment. Humbly

  • Skipper

    What on earth is it that attracts women to a certified d-bag like Barry?

  • Wendy Glenn

    This women is CRAZY with a capital CRAZY! She is grandstanding and now playing the victim. First, she HAD to know that it was a CONFLICT of interest for her to even go to Mr. Barry and ask him to grant her an Earmark. Then have their personal relationship put on blast through her own ridiculous actions; she needs a rubber room.

    She is classless and unprofessional and that is being kind. As a woman she should have know to "PLAY HER POSITION" and as a professional she should have known that her request for Earmark was "UNPROFESSIONAL" and would have the perception of "INPROPRIETY".

    If he is prosecuted she should be as well.