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Last night, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that it would not pursue the stalking charge against Councilmember Marion Barry. The charge stems from a July 4 incident in which Barry allegedly sought out ex-girlfriend Donna Watts-Brighthaupt in Anacostia Park. Watts-Brighthaupt was with her ex-husband Delonta Brighthaupt at the time Barry was pulled over by U.S. Park Police.
Brighthaupt is disappointed that prosecutors dropped the stalking charge against the councilmember. “They could have taken it to court to hear all sides,” he tells City Desk. “I don’t like to see anybody locked up, but I’d like to see justice pursued.”
Brighthaupt says that night Barry re-entered his ex-girlfriend’s home and continued to wait around for a while. Watts-Brighthaupt’s neighbors confirm his account.
Neighbors interviewed say that Barry sat on Watts-Brighthaupt’s front porch for a half hour. “I think I did see him that night sitting there on the porch,” recalls George Dempsey, 83. “Just sitting.”
Another neighbor of Watts-Brighthaupt’s, Delorus Brown, 31, says she watched Barry go into his ex-girlfriend’s house. She estimates that Barry was in the house for no more than 10 minutes. He then sat on the porch for a half hour. She says she saw Barry talking on his cellphone.
Brown says she took her kids over to meet Barry. The councilmember waved them off at first. Brown says that she heard Barry on his cell say: “He’s not in the house.”
After the phone call, Barry shook the kids’ hands. Brown says Barry eventually left Watts-Brighthaupts’ house and stopped his car at the end of Ridge Place in front of a home for pregnant girls. The manager of that facility confirms that he talked to the girls there, asking them how they were going to spend their July 4 holiday.
Brown says Barry then circled back to Brighthaupt’s house. Eventually, Barry made his way into Anacostia Park.
Brighthaupt insists Barry wasn’t merely driving home. “It wasn’t just a regular ride through the park,” he says. “He jumped in front of our vehicle. The police stopped him because he was driving erratically. He cuts us off. He [then stopped] and then the police stopped him.”
Donna Watts-Brighthaupt has her own response to the U.S. Attorney’s Office decision. Barry addressed the dropped charge at a press conference today.
*photo by Darrow Montgomery.