Former Thornburgh Aide Gets 16 Months for Drug Conviction
May. 30, 1991
SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) _ A former top aide to U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh was sentenced to 16 months in prison Thursday for cocaine possession and lying about using drugs when he applied for his Justice Department job.
Henry G. Barr, who served as Thornburgh's liaison to other federal agencies, is believed to be the highest-ranking present or former federal official convicted in a drug case. He worked for Thornburgh in Washington and when Thornburgh was governor.
Barr, 47, also was fined $10,150. He is scheduled to surrender June 7.
U.S. District Judge Edwin Kosik said federal sentencing guidelines called for a prison term of two to eight months. But the judge said the guidelines did not take into account the fact that Barr held a position of public trust.
Barr's lawyer, Charles Scarlata, asked for probation or house arrest. He said Barr had lost his self-esteem, would lose his law license and had suffered because of publicity about his case.
Justice Department lawyer William Corcoran said the prison term was justified.
Barr said nothing in the courtroom and remained silent as he left the courthouse with his wife, Paula. Scarlata said Barr would appeal.
Barr was convicted in February on one count of cocaine possession, two counts of making false statements to the government and one count of conspiracy.
Charges against Barr and former state prosecutor Richard Guida stemmed from a two-year investigation of cocaine use among white-collar professionals in the Harrisburg area.
Guida pleaded guilty to distributing cocaine. He faced sentencing on Friday.
Barr worked as a federal prosecutor in Pittsburgh when Thornburgh was U.S. attorney there. He later served as a legal adviser and general counsel when Thornburgh was governor. He followed Thornburgh to the Justice Department in 1988.
The government said Barr used cocaine on several occasions, conspired with others to cover up the illegal activity and lied about his drug use to obtain a security clearance for his Justice Department job.