Former Ward 8 candidate Marion C. Barry managed to avoid jail time this morning after pleading guilty to his January bank outburst. Despite getting off (for now!), Barry still backed away from his earlier claim that he would run when the seat is available again next year.

In January, Barry threatened to send someone to deal with a PNC Bank clerk who refused to give him $20,000 when his account was already overdrawn by $2,000. When the clerk told Barry to leave, he used a garbage can as an improvised shotput over a barrier, destroying a security camera in the process. Barry pleaded guilty to all three counts in the case, earning him a combined 270 day suspended sentence and 12 months probation.

“Even thought I felt I was wronged, I committed the bigger wrong,” Barry said in court.

Before sentencing Barry, Judge Ann O’Regan Keary scolded the late Mayor Marion Barry‘s son for his frequent driving and drug-related run-ins with the law.

“Clearly, it is time to become the mature adult and realize your full potential,” Keary said.

While Barry says he has apologized to the teller, his lawyers remained awfully unrepentant about the whole “threatening a bank clerk” thing.

In their telling, Barry believed his bank account had more than $20,000 when he went to the branch to take out money to pay his employees. Barry had suspected before that the bank teller didn’t like him because of his family, while attorney Makan Shirafkan tells LL that the teller “had a grudge against him.”

“It was inexcusable, but it was not unprovoked,” Shirafkan says.

At another hearing this afternoon, Barry avoided having his probation for previous charges revoked. That’s despite testing positive recently for marijuana, which is legal now. Instead, Judge Rainey Brandt gave Barry another 30 days to complete court-imposed programs.

Despite making out relatively easily on the charges, Barry has backed off an earlier commitment to run when his late father’s Ward 8 Council seat is up again next year. Hours after finishing sixth in last month’s special election, Barry declared that his new campaign would start the next day, on April 29. Now, though, not so much.

“Officially, I’m not saying I’m running or not,” Barry says.

Photo by Will Sommer