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Fed Prosecutors Back Off Push to Put D.C.’s Marion Barry in Jail

It looks like the Teflon City Councilman will skirt jail.
Councilman Marion Barry

Councilman Marion Barry

The legend lives on.

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors today backed off their request that D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) should be sent to jail for violating his  probation on tax offenses.

Instead, Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Zeno said, Barry should be confined at his home for 30 days and a judge should extend his probation for two more years.

The change of heart came during a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson, who is weighing a request by prosecutors to revoke Barry’s probation. Robinson did not rule today but said she would issue a written order in the future.

Barry’s attorney, Frederick D. Cooke Jr., said the former mayor should be released from his probation for a 2005 tax conviction. At worst, Cooke said, his probation should be extended another year.

After the hearing, Barry said he was not surprised prosecutors withdrew their request for jail time.

“They can read the tea leaves,” the former mayor said, apparently referring to tough questions that Robinson asked prosecutors during the hearing. Probation officials also stopped short of recommending jail time for Barry. They said the judge should extend Barry’s probation for two more years.

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