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Barry avoids jail for tax woes
THE WASHINGTON TIMES D.C. Council member Marion Barry avoided prison time when a judge yesterday denied a bid to revoke his probation after he failed to file tax returns on time for the seventh straight year.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson said prosecutors hadn’t proved beyond a preponderance of the evidence that the former mayor “willfully” failed to file his 2005 D.C. and federal tax returns on time.
Mr. Barry, Ward 8 Democrat, is on probation after he pleaded guilty last year in connection to his failure to file tax returns for the six previous years. He faced up to a year in prison if Judge Robinson granted the prosecutors’ request.
“We said all along this case should have never been brought,” Mr. Barry said.
He declined to answer questions from The Washington Times about why he did not file his returns on time. And Mr. Barry“s attorney, Frederick D. Cooke Jr., also declined comment: “I can”t say and I won”t say,” he said.
Mr. Barry eventually filed his 2005 D.C. and federal income tax returns in February, after his wages were garnished and prosecutors first sought to revoke his probation.
Channing Phillips, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney for the District Jeffrey A. Taylor, said prosecutors disagreed with the judge’s decision.
“We respectfully disagree with the court’s finding, as we believe, given the record in the case, that there was more than sufficient evidence to find that Mr. Barry willfully failed to file his tax returns,” Mr. Phillips said.
The ruling yesterday marks Mr. Barry“s second significant legal victory in as many weeks. Last week, he was acquitted in D.C. Superior Court on charges of drunk driving.
“He came in here and said there is no excuse,” Mr. Zeno said. “We”re here because he failed to file and he knew what he was doing.”
But Mr. Cooke said there was no proof Mr. Barry “willfully” failed to file on time. And he discounted Mr. Barry“s prior statement at sentencing, in which the former mayor said “there is no excuse” for failing to file.
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