- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A breath test indicated that D.C. Council member Marion Barry was not intoxicated, but Secret Service officers testified yesterday that he smelled like he was and appeared to be intoxicated.

Mr. Barry, 71, went on trial yesterday in D.C. Superior Court on charges of driving while under the influence, operating a vehicle while impaired, operating an unregistered vehicle and misuse of temporary tags.

Officer Marie Walford said Mr. Barry failed a field sobriety test but passed a breath test for his blood-alcohol content — registering a .02 — at 5:18 a.m. Sept. 10, about three hours after he was arrested. He then refused a urine test when officers were concerned that the breath test didn’t reflect what they thought was his impaired state.

The breath test doesn’t detect drugs or medications, Officer Walford said.

“He indicated he had a little” to drink, Officer Walford recalled, but “he had a hard time being balanced, holding his feet together.”

Officer Ryan Monteiro said he saw Mr. Barry stop his car at a green light, drive through a red light and put the 1995 Chevrolet Camaro in reverse on a one-way street near the White House. The officer said he made a traffic stop at that point and smelled a strong odor of alcohol.

“I believed at the time he was intoxicated,” he said.

The windows on the driver’s side were rolled down at first, but when Officer Monteiro walked up to the driver, they were rolled up to about 2 inches from the top.

“He stated the windows would not go down any further,” said Officer Monteiro, who is from New Hampshire and did not recognize Mr. Barry, who has had run-ins with the law before. “I could smell the strong odor of alcohol,” he recalled. And Mr. Barry later said, “Do you know who I am? Do you know what is going to happen?”

After yesterday’s session, which let out at 4:45 p.m., Mr. Barry said, “Everybody knows the field tests are highly subjective.”

While serving his third term as mayor, Mr. Barry was infamously videotaped in 1990 smoking crack cocaine in a hotel room during an FBI sting. He served a six-month prison sentence and later was elected to a fourth term.

The problems that led to Mr. Barry’s arrest in September were the result of his age and the medications he was taking at the time, said Frederick Cooke Jr., his attorney. Mr. Barry said he is diabetic and has high blood pressure and bad knees.

“I’ve been clean,” he said yesterday.

Mr. Cooke said, “The question is whether he was intoxicated, and I don’t think they’ve proved that.”

Mr. Barry’s trial is to resume at 1:45 p.m. today.

n This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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