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Students of the history of Marion Barry may recall that during the infamous “bitch set me up” video of Barry smoking crack in room 727 of the old Vista International Hotel with former girlfriend Rasheeda Moore, Moore curiously cried out “Maria, Maria,” after Barry took a hit from a crack pipe.
The “Maria,” it was later alleged in court by Barry’s legal team, was Rose “Maria” McCarthy, a former Barry girlfriend who had stolen the mayor’s heart, driving Moore into a jealous frenzy that led her to team up with law enforcement officials to nab Barry.
Indeed, Moore brings up Maria three times during her conversation with Barry before he inhales. The first time, Moore asks if Barry had spoken to Maria recently. Barry says yes, but then, perhaps sensing Moore’s jealously (or perhaps because he’d had too much cognac), asks Moore what Maria’s last name was.
“Give me a break,” Moore says.
“No, I’m serious, baby,” replies Barry.
The second time Maria comes up is when Moore starts listing some of the women she says Barry has been with. “And Maria,” Moore says.
“Maria, my ass,” replied Barry.
Then later in the conversation, Moore abruptly changes topics and says it surprised her that Barry ever got romantically involved with Maria.
Moore then asks if Maria was “into…freebasing, hitting?”
Barry replies that Maria was “into wanting to give me some [expletive], excuse the expression.” (LL couldn’t find the whole video online, so he had to crib a [expletive] transcript from an old Washington Post article.)
After Barry’s arrest, Maria McCarthy spent a month in jail for refusing to testify against him. She then changed her mind, and testified before a grand jury. At Barry’s actual trial, she was on the prosecutor’s witness list but was never called to the stand.
“If I had testified against Barry, Barry’d be in jail today,” McCarthy, who now goes by Rose Anding, tells LL.
Anding, 72, now married and living in Mississippi, is back in town for a spell to promote her new book, High Heels, Honey Lips & White Powder, that chronicles her wild times as Barry’s girlfriend. The book is part religious self-help book, part memoir about Anding’s transformation from a drug addict who says she once consumed $20,000 worth of crack in two months to someone with a “new life after falling in love with Jesus.”
The book lacks any bombshell revelations about the former mayor that would, indeed, land him in jail today. But it’s full of tidbits Barryolgists will enjoy, like the fact that Anding would always check hotel rooms for recording devices before she and the mayor would do drugs.
The book also adds a new perspective on Barry’s drug arrest and trial—arguably the most memorable event in D.C. politics—while confirming what we already knew: Barry was both guilty and framed.
Or put another way, Barry was a womanizing crack user, but the bitch really did set him up.
Anding tells LL bluntly she’s looking for some free publicity. She says the book, published by Oklahoma-based Christian publisher Tate Publishing, has been selling pretty well, and events at local bookstores have been drawing crowds. (She’s scheduled to be at Books-A-Million in Laurel on Friday.)
A brief summary of what she writes:
Ironically enough, it was Moore who first introduced Barry to “Maria.”
Moore and Anding met at a nail salon in 1988 and became friends. Soon after they met, Moore invited Anding to a club in Georgetown, where she met Barry for the first time. That night, Moore and Barry went back to Anding’s house for an after-party that included drug use, according to Anding.
“I allowed them to use the bathroom and the bedroom, and I stayed in another part of the house. When I came back to the bedroom, MB let me know that he was interested in me. I thought he was too bold and disrespectful, so I told him no. I didn’t want to get involved; however, MB was persistent. I was appalled that even though he didn’t know me, he was still approaching me in that manner,” Anding writes.
And so began Barry’s dogged pursuit of Anding. She says Barry kept calling her repeatedly, even after she had her number changed to an unlisted number: “He still got the number. I don’t know how, but he was the mayor.”
Barry also started showing up at her house, with Anding sometimes getting in her car and leaving him in the driveway. He began calling her “like clockwork” on his way to work, Anding says. Prosecutors would later introduce call logs from Barry’s car phone as evidence in their case against him. The logs showed Barry called Anding 149 times from his car during the last half of 1988.
Anding says she didn’t find Barry physically attractive or interesting—unlike other women in the District. Barry “had a harem of black women. I think he was competing with King Solomon,” Anding writes.
“The more I resisted, the more he desired me,” Anding writes, adding that Barry told her: “I’ve never met a woman like you. I like your spirit.”
After several weeks of pursuit, Anding, who says Barry reminded her of her womanizing ex-husband, decided she was “going to teach him a lesson about women.” She was also mad at Moore for seducing a friend of Anding’s, because Moore had incorrectly assumed that Anding and Barry were already having an affair. Anding now says her decision to try and teach Barry a lesson was “one of the biggest mistakes” of her life.
Anding agreed to meet Barry for breakfast. During the meal, she says an elderly woman approached Barry for help—and he invited her to join them, and spent the meal talking to her about her problems. It was then, Anding says, she stopped seeing Barry as a woman-chasing politician, but as a compassionate “humanitarian.”
Part of Barry’s courtship included inviting Anding to his mayoral office. She says she was impressed with Barry’s intelligence and effectiveness as mayor. “He was a tough administrator. On one occasion, I overheard him talking on the telephone, when he said “Do it, I said ‘Do it,’” Anding writes.
Anding was falling for Barry, and their relationship “moved to a different level.” Readers looking for juicy details of Anding and Barry’s romance will be disappointed with her lack of description. Instead, she casts her relationship with Barry in these rather remarkable terms:
“We were zoomed into orbits that were too private to tell. The thrill was almost fatal, too powerful for our hearts. I don’t know how or why, but our souls became tied together. It was much more than a strong love, in spite of the drugs, lies and deception. We had been swept away to the soul-satisfying camp that was run by demons, and Satan was the Chief Operating Officer,” Anding writes.
Just before deadline, Anding called to make sure that LL correctly understands the nature of her relationship with Barry. It wasn’t a typical girlfriend/boyfriend affair, says Anding.
“This is something that you may have once in a lifetime,” she says. “This was a passion.”
When Anding first heard that Barry had been busted at the Vista in January 1990, she was disgusted with the mayor for not sweeping the hotel room. “Many times RM, MB, and I were having fun or getting high in hotel rooms. But, at my insistence, we always searched the rooms and surroundings for cameras and recording devises. … If I had been in that room with him, we would have searched every inch of it, and left nothing unturned.” Anding also says Barry should have known something was up when Moore didn’t take the first hit from the crack pipe, as that was her usual M.O.
Once the arrest broke, Anding says she fled to Greensboro, N.C., where she worked for an accounting firm. About eight months after Barry’s arrest, she says three FBI agents showed up and started asking questions. She refused to answer them.
The book says Anding held “the big joker” card that would have made the prosecutors’ case against Barry, but she refused to testify. “I was in a position to pull MB down, but I had respect for the position of mayor, and for the man. I felt that MB was an excellent mayor and possessed some fine qualities, and I did not want to be a part of destroying him.…I was going to stand by MB no matter what it would cost me,” Anding writes.
For her troubles, she spent a month in jail. After she was released, she says she managed to set up a private meeting with Barry without the press knowing. She told Barry she’d changed her mind and was going to testify.
“[Barry] walked over to me, held my hands, looked me in the eye, and said, ‘I don’t want you to go back to jail, tell it all. Let the chips fall where they may. I may have to pick up a few chips here and there, but I am coming out on top,’” Anding writes.
She also tells LL that Barry made a pass at her after she’d just spent a month in jail on his behalf. “He ain’t got no shame in his game,” Anding says.
Anding says she testified before a grand jury, but that the FBI “didn’t know how to question me and no one ever knew what went on between MB and me. … What we did together was just the two of us behind a closed door.”
She writes that prosecutors decided to keep her off the stand for the actual trial because she knew Barry better than the other witnesses and could dispute their testimony. A few weeks after the trial, she says she ran into Barry, who told her: “We paid a heavy price, but I had a lot of fun with you.”
Anding tells LL she now realizes how many people were hurt by that kind of “fun.” She wants the District to know she’s sorry.
As for Moore’s “Maria, Maria,” that night at the Vista, Anding has a theory that Moore used her name as a code, to signal law enforcement officials watching in the next room that Barry had smoked crack. Anding says she’s never spoken ill of her old friend, but clearly believes that Moore’s jealousy played a key role in her decision to set Barry up.
“While RM always offered MB a special love, what I offered MB was fun, excitement, freedom, and the ultimate thrill,” Anding writes.
LL tried to find Moore to ask her about the book, but so far, he’s had no luck tracking her down. Barry, meanwhile, isn’t interested in confirming any of the details in Anding’s book. Anding says she sent him a copy before it was published, but never heard back from the current Ward 8 councilmember.
Contacted by LL, Barry declined to comment. “I don’t want to hear what she says, do you understand that?” Barry says. “I’m not going to lower myself to get into garbage can reporting… by you.”
The last time Anding saw Barry, she says, was 13 years ago at a conference in Chicago. She says Barry asked her where she was staying, which she took as a sign he was interested in rekindling their romance.
But Anding says she didn’t answer: “The thrill was gone.”
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Photo by Darrow Montgomery