- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Prosecutors asked a federal judge Monday to send D.C. Council member Marion Barry to jail for failing to file his tax returns for the eighth time in nine years.

In a motion filed in U.S. District Court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Zeno said Mr. Barry, Ward 8 Democrat and former District mayor, did not file his taxes in 2007, violating his probation for previous tax offenses.

Mr. Barry, 72, was given three years of probation in 2006 after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges for failing to file his tax returns from 1999 to 2004. As part of a plea bargain, he agreed to file future federal and local tax returns annually.

Two years ago, prosecutors sought to have the probation revoked after Mr. Barry failed to file his 2005 taxes.

However, U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson refused, ruling that prosecutors did not prove Mr. Barry willfully failed to file his returns, even if he was aware that he missed the deadline.

In the motion filed Monday, prosecutors said Mr. Barry has now failed to file his taxes on time for the eighth time in nine years and called his conduct “indefensible.”

“It is not acceptable for any citizen to shirk a basic civil duty, let alone a former mayor and a current city councilman who has been responsible in the past and continues to be responsible for spending public funds collected from District of Columbia taxpayers,” the motion states.

If the judge decides not to send Mr. Barry to jail, prosecutors want a hearing so that he can explain his conduct and prosecutors can seek to extend his probation by two years.

Mr. Barry’s attorney, Frederick Cooke, did not return a telephone message seeking comment. Barry spokesman Andre Johnson declined to comment.

Mr. Barry served four terms as mayor. In 1990, during his third term, he was videotaped in a hotel room smoking crack cocaine in an FBI sting. He served a six-month prison sentence and in 1994 was re-elected to the mayor’s office for another four-year term.

He won re-election last year to his council seat.

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