- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 4, 2007

Federal prosecutors want to revoke D.C. Council member Marion Barry’s probation in a criminal tax case because he has failed to pay 2005 federal and D.C. income taxes.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys James Cooper and Thomas Zeno said in a court memo Friday that Mr. Barry, a former D.C. mayor, has shown “unworthiness to reap the benefits of a lenient sanction.” Mr. Barry was sentenced to three years’ probation in federal court last year for not paying his income taxes, after reaching a plea deal with the U.S. attorney’s office.

Mr. Barry was sentenced to three years’ probation in federal court last year for not paying taxes for five years, after reaching a plea deal with the U.S. attorney’s office. A spokesman declined to comment on the development.

“The court’s patience should be at an end,” the prosecutors wrote. “A longtime elected official who has been responsible for spending public funds collected from District of Columbia taxpayers, the defendant chose not to file his own return for six years.”

Mr. Barry, a Ward 8 Democrat and four-term mayor, also has not made arrangements to pay taxes on more than $500,000 he earned in previous years, officials said.

The prosecutors call Mr. Barry’s failure to file 2005 tax returns the latest in a series of “willful acts in defiance of the tax laws.” They also say Mr. Barry’s actions puts him in violation of an express condition of his release.

Mr. Barry asked the Internal Revenue Service for an extension to allow him to file his return by Oct. 15. However, no return had been filed as of last week, according to an affidavit submitted by an IRS special agent investigating the case.

The IRS began garnishing Mr. Barry’s paycheck in November.

In December, the D.C. council voted to raise members’ salaries to $115,000 a year.

Mr. Barry could not be reached for comment yesterday. WTOP Radio, which has reported on the request to revoke Mr. Barry’s probation, reported that the tax troubles could be the result of his changing accountants.

If prosecutors succeed in getting probation revoked, Mr. Barry could return to prison. He faced up to 18 months in prison under sentencing guidelines before getting probation in the tax case.

Mr. Barry served six months in prison in 1990 after he was convicted of cocaine possession.

During a court-ordered drug test in the criminal tax case, Mr. Barry tested positive for cocaine and marijuana use. Under his probation, he must stay drug-free. The memo seeking to revoke Mr. Barry’s probation gave no indication that he had relapsed.

Even if Mr. Barry goes to prison, he technically could retain his council seat because the criminal tax case charged him with a misdemeanor, not a felony crime.

Prosecutors did not charge Mr. Barry with tax evasion, a felony.

Citing Mr. Barry’s prompt guilty plea in 2005, prosecutors at the time agreed to take no position at his sentencing on whether he deserved prison time.

Their memo last week, though, said Mr. Barry has continued to flout the “standards applicable to all persons who reside in the District of Columbia who pay a portion of their income to support his salary.”

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