American Morning

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July 16th, 2009
10:57 AM ET

DC's Marion Barry defends himself

Four-time Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry has had a bumpy ride in his political career. In his third term, an FBI sting operation at the Vista Hotel produced video of him smoking crack cocaine in a hotel room. He served six months in prison then regained the office in 1994.

Barry, who now serves as a D.C. councilman (D-Ward 8), is currently being investigated by the city council for allegedly hiring his former girlfriend. That same girlfriend accused Barry of stalking her, which led to his arrest on July 4. Misdemeanor stalking charges have since been dropped by federal prosecutors.

In an interview with CNN’s “American Morning” Thursday, Barry defended himself against the various allegations of wrongdoing.

“In my 73 years, I've never been accused of stalking in my domestic relationships, never been accused of anything like that. And all of those things you called ‘trouble’ have turned out to be nonstarters. For instance, with the Vista – there were no convictions in the Vista. One charge – a misdemeanor, not crack cocaine. There’s been no proof of crack cocaine. And in terms of the park police arresting me illegally – the next day, the young lady who allegedly accused me of stalking said she never flagged the police down, never did anything to indicate stalking. It was dismissed. So I want the world to know that I have never ever been accused of this. And I've been vindicated by it. In terms of the investigation, city officials have said publicly that there's no law banning that.”

Barry claimed his detractors were behind the accusations and shifted focus to claims of his accomplishments.

“I’ve transformed Washington from a sleepy southern town to a metropolis. I've given summer jobs to everyone who wanted them. I moved contracting from 3% to 46% for African-Americans and Latinos. And a whole range of things I've done.”

When asked if he had any regrets, he replied “The FBI ought to regret spending $25 million on me at the Vista and didn't get a conviction. The park police ought to be regretful that they arrested me illegally. … I did nothing on July 4th that deserved arrest. … I am a victim of all of this, the park police.”

Related: Prosecutors won't pursue charges against Marion Barry

Filed under: Politics
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. armund schoen

    Subject: Affirmative Action

    I was disturbed this morning to hear Carol Costello (whom I love) say that the majority of the responses on the subject were in favor of ending affirmative action. I wanted you to know that I am an ardent supporter of affirmative action as a means to help level the playing field for African Americans and other minorities, who have had to endure slavery and bigotry in this country for centuries. We have a long way to go before affirmative action can end.

    July 17, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  2. L Vitt

    Carol Costello's comment on CNN this morning about Marion Barry being a "joke" was neither fair reporting nor in good taste.

    July 17, 2009 at 12:02 am |
  3. D. Dort

    Love him or hate him,, Barry fills a need, and the voters of the 8th Ward in D.C. believe they have not found anyone else they believe can voice their needs in the City Council. The 8th Ward is a tough place, economically disadvantaged and physically isolated, and in the gentrification process of D.C., their needs have largely been ignored. I am not sure all the negative attention, and the occasional arrest, nepotism, and defiance of the mainstream media bothers the voters of the 8th Ward as long as Barry continues to be who he is and to "stand up" for them.

    July 16, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  4. J.HOH

    CNN'S Carol Costello looked foolish interviewing Marion Barry. Im so not a big Marion Barry fan, but I know better to take him lightly. In addition, with a smug attitude as if this interview was going to be a walk in the park. It was obvious she has not been in a real dog fight and if so, she was out matched and was not prepared and often miss spoke.
    She went on the attack and did not look fair and balanced at all. (I know this is not FoX)

    CNN please do a better job of preparing Carol. Dont worry she will live to fight another day!
    P.S. I hope you post this comment, even though its not singing her glory!

    July 16, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  5. tdr

    Everytime I see, hear or read anything about this guy I wonder, "What the heck are the voters out in D.C. thinking?" I'd be willing to bet the majority of the people that elected this...this...I really can't come up with the right I'll say person, but I bet that they also believe that O.J. didn't do it, that the tooth fairy is real and that Star Wars really did take place long ago in a galaxy far, far awwy? Wow, things never cease to amaze me.

    July 16, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  6. Larry

    How does this clown keep ending up in a political office?

    July 16, 2009 at 11:12 am |