Barry to Colleagues: Shut Up

Barry to Colleagues: Shut Up was originally published on City Desk on Feb. 13, 2009, at 2:44 pm

Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry’s had a tough couple of weeks. The Washington Post reported that he never filed a 2007 tax return, reopening a longstanding drama; then federal prosecutors decided they wanted him thrown in jail. He even made Leno.

In these troubling times, Barry has a simple request for his council colleagues: Shut the hell up.

In a memo addressed to “Councilmember Members” on Wednesday, Barry asked his colleagues to “refrain from discussing the matter with anyone including members of the media.”

The full memo:

There have been several reports in the media regarding the status of my health. This is a very private and personal matter. For those reasons, I would ask that you refrain from discussing this matter with anyone including members of the media. I would ask that you simply provide “no comment” to anyone requesting an interview. Furthermore, the only people authorized to provide comment to the media in regards to my health are my doctors and myself.

I thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding in this very private matter.

At least one member declined to respect his wishes—Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham defended the mayor-for life thusly, to WRC-TV: “Isn’t there somebody who’s secretary of the treasury today who didn’t pay taxes?”

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