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When Marion S. Barry Jr. walked into Courtroom 115 at D.C. Superior Court today, a murmur ran through the dozens of defendants waiting for their traffic cases to be called.
One man angrily complained, “I’ve been sitting here for two hours. But goddamned Marion Barry just walks right to the front of the line!”
More buzz was generated when the clerk read off the charges that brought the former mayor to court. Many in the room were unaware of what Barry is facing: driving under the influence, operating a vehicle while impaired, operating an unregistered vehicle, and misuse of temporary tags.
After the clerk finished, one woman in the courtroom said just loud enough for everyone to hear: “Now there’s a great role model.”
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The charges resulted from Barry’s Sept. 10 traffic stop near the White House. Secret Service officers say they pulled Barry over after he ran a red light. The officers, who claim to have smelled alcohol, administered a field sobriety test and briefly detained Barry.
A subsequent breathalyzer test was inconclusive, according to the Secret Service. Barry claims he blew a .02, well below the District’s legal limit of .08. He refused to submit to the urine analysis that was requested by the authorities.
Outside the courtroom, Barry said he was uncomfortable submitting to urine analysis that night because he felt officers were trying to embarrass him. He refused to address the matter further, saying, “I don’t want to agitate the government.”
But he completely dismissed the notion that his refusal to undergo a urine test that night had anything to do with drug use. “I submit to regular urine testing as part of my probation,” Barry says. “It has come back clean every time, because I am clean.”
Posted by James Jones On Tuesday, Nov. 14, at 3:06 p.m.