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Marion C. Barry won’t be admitting guilt over an alleged bank outburst—at least not yet. The Ward 8 D.C. Council candidate let a plea deal offer from prosecutors expire on Friday, according to his attorney.
Barry’s attempt to claim late father Marion Barry‘s seat was complicated in January, when Barry allegedly threatened a bank teller, wrecked a security camera, and hurled a garbage can over a security barrier. Prosecutors offered to drop a simple assault charge in exchange for Barry pleading to two misdemeanors.
The plea deal could have resulted in 360 days in jail for Barry, but lawyer Makan Shirafkan doubts his client would really have received that much time.
“Is that a realistic thing?” Shirafkan says. “No, it’s not.”
By ignoring the plea offer, Barry avoids the embarrassment of running in a crowded race after adding yet another guilty plea to his rap sheet, or worse, campaigning from a jail cell. With a trial date planned for May 20, ignoring plea offers means that Barry can avoid new developments in his case until after the April 28 special election. Shirafkan says he’ll keep communicating with prosecutors ahead of trial, which raises the possibility of another potential plea deal.
Waiting until the trial has its own risks for Barry, especially if he manages to win the Council seat. At a trial, purported security footage of Barry’s alleged trashcan shotput would probably be introduced, likely to the delight of Barry’s future opponents in Ward 8 races.
Shirafkan says he’s already seen some of the footage. Alas, he won’t discuss it with LL.
Photo by Will Sommer