Mike DeBonis reports:
Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry has left court, surrounded by staff, friends, and family, including his son, Christopher.
He appeared very frail. He spoke very slowly, in an unsure voice. “Let me make it crystal-clear,” he said. “I understand my responsibility as an American citizen. I apologize to the judge and take full responsibility.” He went on to describe the dispute with District tax authorities and reminded people that he filed his 2008 taxes early. He had some harsh words for prosecutors: “The government goes to the extreme, paints the worst picture it can, distorts the truth.” He said he would “not let this distract me from my health and my work.”
When asked whether Americans are obligated to pay their taxes, the former mayor replied in a somewhat cryptic fashion: “Absolutely. Except those who protest.”
Barry also addressed his health. He said his new kidney is working. “The kidney is working fine. In fact it’s overworking because I’ve been dehydrated,” he said. He said a doctor told him yesterday that he’s cleared to resume a limited work schedule.
Prosecutors are recommending two years of probation with the first 30 days spent on home monitoring. Barry would have a curfew on nights and his weekend activities would be restricted.
This recommendation followed a determination that the halfway house to which prosecutors had hoped Barrywould be sentenced had no medical facilities, and that the jail, too, had minimal medical facilities.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson will not be ruling today.
File photograph by Darrow Montgomery