Barry: Bennett investigators asked inappropriate personal questions
At Tuesday's D.C. Council meeting, Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) accused attorney Robert S. Bennett of inappropriately prying into whether he was still abusing drugs.
Bennett was at the council to present the findings of his investigation into whether Barry misused tax dollars by awarding contracts and earmarks to his friends and supporters, including a former girlfriend. Bennett, backed by a team of investigators from three high-powered Washington law firms, concluded Barry violated several laws and council procedures. Barry denies wrongdoing.
Bennett is urging the full council to refer his findings to the U.S. Attorney's Office for possible criminal prosecution.
When Barry got an opportunity to question Bennett, the former mayor accused Bennett of running a rogue investigation. Barry, who was convicted of drug possession in 1990, said Bennett and his team investigators were prying into his personal life.
"You approached this investigation as a criminal investigation," Barry said. "Asking people about sexual relationships. Asking people if [they've] seen me do drugs. That is totally inappropriate."
After the council meeting, Bennett said he wasn't sure if an investigator ever asked a witness about whether they had ever seen Barry use drugs. But Bennett noted part of the investigation centered on how city money was allegedly diverted to Darryl Colbert, a Barry friend who the report states was his Narcotics Anonymous sponsor.
The report states an organization that Barry had directed money to paid Colbert $12,000. At the time, according to the report, Colbert "was in danger of losing his home" and "needed financial assistance from council member Barry."
"I can assure you this was not an inquiry of Mr. Barry's drug use or lack thereof," Bennett said.
-- Tim Craig
By Tim Craig
February 16, 2010; 6:37 PM ET
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