January 11, 2006

Ex-D.C. mayor Barry won’t comment on drugs report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former Washington mayor Marion Barry
on Wednesday declined to comment on a Washington Post report
that he tested positive for cocaine use last fall.

Barry, now a city council member, spent six months in jail
in 1991 on drug charges after being caught on videotape smoking
crack cocaine, an incident that cut short his third term as

The Post, quoting unnamed sources, reported that Barry's
failure to pass the test, required under his federal guilty
plea agreement on misdemeanor tax charges in October, could
lead to a stiffer sentence on those charges, including possible
jail time.

Barry, 69, declined to talk to reporters on Wednesday after
he was released from Howard University Hospital, where he was
treated for two days for hypertension and diabetes.

His doctor, Robert Williams, said he was in "clinically
stable conditions" for those ailments.

The Post quoted Barry as saying on Tuesday night, "Write
what you want to write. That's my official quote. No more, no

Barry's lawyer, Frederick Cooke, also declined to confirm
or deny the report. "My client is better off addressing the
questions that are going to be coming up in court," Cooke said.

Barry is due for sentencing in U.S. District Court February
8 for willfully failing to file United States and District of
Columbia tax returns for six years from 1999, when he left the
mayor's office.

Although Barry admitted to earning $534,000 during that
period, the exact amount of taxes due has not yet been
determined, according to the District of Columbia U.S.
Attorney's office.

He agreed to file the missing returns and could face a
maximum sentence of up to 18 months in jail.

After his arrest 15 years ago, Barry underwent substance
abuse treatment and declared himself drug-free before mounting
a political comeback that included winning a seat on the city
council and re-election as mayor in 1994.

However, the federal government took control of the city's
tattered finances in 1995 and Barry did not seek re-election in
1998. He rejoined the council in late 2004, representing
Washington's poorest ward in the city's southeast section.

Barry made local headlines last week when he reported to
police that two youths robbed him at gunpoint after he paid
them to help him carry groceries from his car into his