Barry Response to Report Expected

Lawyer says ex-mayor plans to raise questions

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCWashington.com

    An attorney for former DC Mayor Marion Barry plans to file a formal response by next week to a report that concludes Barry misappropriated thousands of dollars worth of city contracts for friends, associates and his Ward 8 Council staff.

    Barry lawyer Fred Cooke told News4 that he expected to raise several questions about the conclusions in the report.
     
    On Tuesday, the Council received the results of a special seven-month investigation accusing Barry of violating conflict-of-interest laws. According to the report from Special Counsel Robert Bennett, Barry benefited from a $15,000 city contract that he obtained for a friend in 2008. The friend is Donna Watts-Brighthaupt -- the same woman who accused Barry of stalking her in Anacostia Park last summer.
     
    Barry has been given until Tuesday to respond to the allegations. He and the rest of the council also have until next week to submit questions to Bennett about the report.
     
    The Council is then expected to take action on the matter on March 2. Possible actions could include censuring Barry or stripping him of his chairmanship of the Committee on Housing and Workforce Development.
     
    Under city law, there is no provision for the Council to remove Barry from office. Voters are the only ones with that power.
     
    Special counsel Bennett also recommended the Council turn his findings over to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for a possible criminal investigation. Federal prosecutors have declined to comment on whether they might pursue a case against Barry.