- The Washington Times - Monday, July 6, 2009

UPDATED:

A lawyer for D.C. Council member and former Mayor Marion Barry said Monday the stalking charge against his client is “baseless.”

“We believe the charge is baseless and stems from a personal relationship that has gone terribly wrong in many ways,” lawyer Fred Cooke said outside city hall. “And one person in this relationship struck out.”

Mr. Barry, 73, was arrested Saturday night after a female acquaintance accused him of stalking her in Anacostia Park, police said.

The female motorist flagged down an officer near Good Hope Road and Anacostia Drive Southeast at about 8:45 p.m. and said the council member was harassing her and wouldn’t leave her alone, U.S. Park Police said.

Mr. Barry was arrested, charged with misdemeanor stalking and released, said Park Police spokesman Sgt. David Schlosser.

On Sunday, Barry spokeswoman Natalie Williams said the purported victim was a woman whom Mr. Barry had helped financially during “various stages of instability” in her life.

The woman, identified as 40-year-old Donna Watts-Brighthaupt, had lunch with Mr. Barry on Saturday and encountered him later in the day during Fourth of July festivities in Anacostia Park. He was on his way home when the incident occurred, police said.

Mrs. Brighthaupt reportedly did not request the charges and has asked that they be dropped.

A court appearance for Mr. Barry is scheduled for Thursday.

Mr. Barry served four terms as mayor. In his third, he was videotaped in 1990 in a hotel room smoking crack cocaine in an FBI sting. He served six months in prison.

In 1992, Mr. Barry returned to D.C. politics by winning a seat on the D.C. Council, and two years later he again was elected mayor.

But Mr. Barry’s legal woes didn’t stop. He 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.

He was stopped in the District in 2006 by police accusing him of a traffic violation. Officers said they smelled alcohol and gave him a Breathalyzer test, which Mr. Barry disputed. A judge later acquitted him in the case.

Yet despite his legal troubles, Mr. Barry, 73, remains popular in Ward 8, the Southeast district he represents. After retiring from politics in 1998, the Democrat ran again for the D.C. Council in 2004 and won with 96 percent of the vote. He won re-election in November with 92 percent of the vote.

Mr. Barry did not respond to an e-mail sent by The Washington Times on Sunday afternoon.

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