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Flamboyant Attorney R. Kenneth Mundy Dies

April 15, 1995

WASHINGTON (AP) _ R. Kenneth Mundy, a flamboyant attorney who aggressively defended a string of Washington political figures in trouble with the law _ including Mayor Marion Barry and former Rep. Dan Rostenkowski _ is dead at age 64.

Mundy succumbed to a heart attack Friday, minutes after arriving at Holy Cross Hospital in suburban Silver Spring, Md., hospital spokesman Ken Frager said.

Mundy was known for wearing flashy hats outside the courtroom and for winning over juries with his wit and flowery courtroom style.

He often said his clients were the victims of overzealous government investigators who had overreached their authority.

``He could play hardball, but with a soft touch,″ said Jay Stephens, the former U.S. attorney who oversaw Barry’s prosecution on cocaine and perjury charges.

``Ken’s death is really a very tragic loss to the city as well as to the legal community,″ Stephens said. ``His particular strength was in court, in connecting with people _ in connecting with witnesses and with jurors. He could understand what motivated them and how they responded, and, as a consequence, was a very effective advocate for his clients.″

Those clients included Barry, who served six months in prison after being convicted of a single misdemeanor cocaine possession charge in August 1990.

With Mundy’s help, Barry escaped conviction on more serious allegations. He was acquitted of another drug charge, and a federal jury deadlocked on 12 other charges.

Barry left office in January 1991 after serving out his third term as mayor. Voters returned Barry to the mayor’s office last November.

Last July, Mundy joined a team of attorneys defending Rostenkowski, D-Ill., former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, against charges he converted public money to his own use.

Former Rep. Mary Rose Oakar, D-Ohio, called on Mundy to represent her after she was charged with seven felonies, including allegations she spent public money on herself and filed false financial reports.

Mundy is survived by his wife, Mignon, of Kensington, Md.; a son, Keith; two brothers and three grandchildren.

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