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Barry Faces More Legal Troubles

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D.C. Council Member Marion Barry is in hot water: a new investigation the former mayor misused public funds and calls for a possible criminal investigation.
Council of the District of Columbia
D.C. Council Member Marion Barry is in hot water: a new investigation the former mayor misused public funds and calls for a possible criminal investigation.

By Patrick Madden

D.C. Council member Marion Barry could be facing new legal troubles. An independent investigation says the former mayor misused public funds and calls for a possible criminal investigation.

A report by former prosecutor Robert Bennett alleges Barry personally benefited from the earmarks he steered to his then girlfriend Donna Watts Brighthaup. She told investigators Barry would take her to the bank, have her cash the paycheck, and turn over some of the money to him.

Bennett's report also accuses the Ward 8 council member of awarding contracts that benefited his friends and close supporters and says the former mayor interfered with the investigation.

"We find that Mr. Barry breached the public trust, violated the conflict of interest of laws, and that Mr. Barry's conduct implicates the criminal law," says Bennett.

Barry denies any wrong doing. He says there were no written rules regarding earmarks, and therefore, he could not have broken any laws. He also says he will not apologize for directing funds to Ward 8, home to some of D.C.'s poorest neighborhoods.

Council Chairman Vincent Gray says the council will wait at least a week before acting on the report.

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