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Black Politics: Marion Barry Dodges Bullet

Marion Barry, Washington’s embattled city council member and former mayor, dodged another bullet last week when a District prosecutor declined to prosecute him on charges of stalking his ex-girlfriend. Barry was arrested and briefly detained by U.S. Park Service police July 4th after the woman, 40-year-old Donna Watts-Brighthaupt, complained that he was "bothering" her.

But Mr. Barry may not be completely out of the woods yet. The controversy kicked up by his arrest led reporters to dig out the fact that Mr. Barry had put Ms. Watts-Brighthaupt on his payroll by awarding her a $60,000 contract to study "poverty reduction," to be paid out of taxpayer dollars. That proved too much for current D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and others, who demanded the city council open an ethics probe of Mr. Barry. On Friday, D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray announced the council would hire an independent law firm to look into the matter.

 

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