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Barry Defends Self On CNN

D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) went national this morning, appearing on CNN's American Morning to defend giving a contract to then-girlfriend Donna Watts-Brighthaupt last year.

The interview with Carol Costello sometimes grew combative, particularly when she asked why he could not stay out of "trouble."

"All those things you call trouble have been non-starters," Barry (D-Ward 8) told her. He said he wanted "the world to know" that he has never been accused of stalking and that he had been vindicated. On July 4, Barry was arrested in Anacostia Park after Watts-Brighthaupt told a police officer that Barry had been "bothering her," which led to a
stalking charge. Though the charge was dropped later in the week, the arrest exposed a $5,000-a-month contract to Watts-Brighthaupt, and the D.C. Council has launched a special investigation. But Barry continues to explain that it is not against the law to hire a
girlfriend "I have obeyed the law. My constituents understand these things," he said in the CNN interview.

Costello showed a clip of the new HBO documentary about Barry. The clip begins with the infamous black-and-white footage of his arrest at the Vista hotel. Barry said the documentary "is 78 minutes long. That scene you just showed is one and a half minutes long."

Costello asked, "Do you have any regrets about your past?"

Barry's response? "The FBI ought to regret spending $25 million...and not getting a conviction at the Vista," he said.

The former mayor spent six months in prison for cocaine possession and later staged an impressive comeback to become mayor again.

Minutes later, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) had his regularly scheduled appearance on NBC4. He said he never gave such contracts as a council member and said the council should have stricter standards when it comes to hiring significant others. He stopped short of saying they should not do it at all, noting that there should be a process.

-- Nikita Stewart

By Lori Aratani  |  July 16, 2009; 8:24 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. Council , Mayor Fenty , Nikita Stewart  
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Barry is an a** and Fenty is no better. Too many of Fenty's friends are on the DC payroll, so of ocurse he will not come down on Barry. I wish we could fire both of them. Please do not vote for these gentleman and I use the term loosely.

Posted by: DCWatcher3 | July 16, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Homey the Clown Barry keeps on giving and giving.

Posted by: mintchocolatechip | July 16, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Fenty should not be too quick to point the finger since he regularly appoints his friends or his wife's friends to all sorts of positions who have zero experience in the given area.

The story about Barry hiring his girlfriend should not end there it should move on to expose other inappropriate hiring practices by the mayor and any other Council members.

Posted by: letsbereal2 | July 16, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Its fascinating that Barry either cannot comprehend or chooses to ignore the fact that while something is entirely unethical or immoral it may be legal because no one has seen the need to enact a law against it. This ranks right up there with Bill Clinton's parsing of the word "sex".

Posted by: thunder3053 | July 16, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

LOL! DC would be way less interesting without this character. Thank you, Marion Barry, thank you.

Posted by: forgetthis | July 16, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Barry is the alpha and the omega of all things wrong with DC. He oversaw the decay of DC from the 1970s to 1990s. He has preyed on and managed to keep the people of Ward 8 in virtual poverty. When will the citizens of Ward 8 break the chains of oppression that Barry puts on them?

Posted by: miboard157 | July 16, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Costello asked, "Do you have any regrets about your past?"

Barry's response? "The FBI ought to regret spending $25 million...and not getting a conviction at the Vista," he said

Right on point Mayor.......

Posted by: K2007 | July 16, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Way to stretch the rules, Shyster-for-Life.

Although it may not be against the laws, it does seem to be a direct violation of the DC Code of Ethics which can be found at (direct from the web-site).

"Identifies and eliminates participation of any individual in operational situations
where a conflict of interest may be involved."--I would say that hiring someone who you are dating is most definitely an operational situation "where a conflict of interest may be involved."

Also "Seeks or dispenses no personal favors. Handles each administrative problem
objectively and empathetically, without discrimination." If this is not dispensing personal favors, then I don't know what is.

Since all of this is from the "Office of Contracting and Procurement" I think that he can be considered actively acting unethically and in violation of the DC Code of Ethics. There should be some form or sanction available for employees of the district that knowingly violate the code or it is impotent.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | July 16, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I was embarrassed to be a District resident/native Washingtonian this morning watching Barry on CNN. The anchors could barely contain their snickers as they teased for Barry's "fiery" pre-taped interview coming up. Even worse, they did not make it clear that he only represents an eight of the city's population and that he wouldn't stand of chance of being elected city wide again.

Posted by: CrestwoodKat | July 16, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Fenty better remember his friend driving the government truck has a contract with DC for $$$ too, so don't even try to point fingers.

And we all know what we are getting with Marion Berry (a lot of entertainment). I will agree with Berry he cannot be a stalker but it appears there are many women in DC who will give him a chance - even if they didn't get a job.

Posted by: jvd1 | July 16, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Councilpersons and District Executives are NOTORIOUS for hiring unqualified friends and crony's to public positions from a sense of entitlement. They see it as the spoils of winning an election. Fenty is no better than Barry in that regard.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | July 16, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

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