Witness Says Mayor Supplied Cocaine; Barry Claims Entrapment With AM-Barry Trial-Scene
Jun. 19, 1990
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Convicted drug dealer Charles Lewis, testifying on the first day of Marion Barry's drug and perjury trial, said Tuesday that he and the mayor repeatedly used drugs in the Virgin Islands and smoked crack cocaine in Washington.
Lewis described using cocaine with Barry and model Rasheeda Moore once in June 1986 in a hotel room. ''We were all standing in line. We were using straws,'' Lewis said.
Prosecutors opened the trial charging that the three-term mayor was ''smoking crack and using cocaine all over town for years.''
Defense attorney R. Kenneth Mundy countered that Barry was a victim of entrapment and said the trial would reveal ''the depths to which the government was willing to go and did go'' to bring down the mayor of the nation's capital.
The two lawyers sparred before the jury while Barry watched intently from the defense table. He wiped his forehead when he heard Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Roberts say jurors would see a government videotape made the night of Barry's arrest showing the mayor ''smoking crack ... lighting with a cigarette lighter.
''Just like this,'' he added, extending his arms and inhaling deeply.
Barry has pleaded innocent to 10 misdemeanor cocaine possession charges, one misdemeanor cocaine conspiracy charge and three felony counts of lying to a grand jury about his alleged drug use.
He could face up to 26 years in prison and fines of $1.85 million if convicted on all counts. The trial is expected to last upwards of a month.
''While the defendant was preaching 'down with dope' to the community, he was putting dope up his nose,'' Roberts told jurors in his opening statement. ''This case is about the other side, the secret side, of Marion Barry.''
Mundy told the 12 jurors and six alternates, ''This is a case about deals the government made with the devil. Approximately seven years ago, the government made a determination that it was going to get Mr. Barry ... and that it was prepared to go to any lengths.''
Lewis, a former city employee who pleaded guilty to cocaine conspiracy charges last November, portrayed the mayor as an experienced drug user. In a Dec. 16, 1988 visit to Lewis' Washington hotel room, Barry shook rocks of crack cocaine out of a matchbox and he returned the next night with crack cocaine hidden in his pants leg.
The two men fashioned a homemade pipe to smoke the crack, said Lewis.
The mayor told him when he ''was in the Virgin Islands, I take care of him, when I was in D.C. he takes care of me,'' Lewis testified.
At one point, said Lewis, the mayor sent him out to buy crack cocaine on the streets, which Lewis called a ''very easy'' task.''
Lewis also said the two men used drugs at two Virgin Islands hotels and aboard two boats in trips the mayor made to the islands in 1986 and 1988.
''How many packets (of crack) did you and Mr. Barry smoke during his trip to the Virgin Islands'' in 1988? asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Judith Retchin.
''I would say somewhere near two dozen packets,'' replied Lewis.
''Who smoked more, you or Mr. Barry?''
''The mayor did,'' said Lewis. ''He smoked more than I do.''
Lewis told of using cocaine supplied by Barry in a Virgin Islands hotel room in June 1986 and was asked whether anyone else used the drug.
''The mayor, Miss Moore,'' Lewis said.
Lewis testified Barry also smoked marijuana on a boat trip later that day.
Lewis said he encouraged Moore, who cooperated in Barry's Jan. 18 arrest at a Washington hotel, and the mayor to use cocaine in the boat's bathroom, out of sight of another couple on the cruise. They made repeated trips to the lavatory, Lewis testified.
He said that during a March 1988 trip, the mayor gave him $300 and asked him to buy crack cocaine.
Lewis, Barry and several others consumed ''between 15 and 18 bags'' of the cocaine that had been bought with the $300, Lewis testified.
''Then I went and bought some more,'' he said.
When Retchin asked Lewis how crack cocaine had made him feel, Lewis said, ''You feel good. You feel great, as a matter of fact.''
Barry smiled broadly as Lewis further described the cocaine high.
Lewis' testimony that he obtained drugs for the mayor, got money from the mayor, and used drugs with him all relate to the felony perjury charges against Barry. The mayor told a grand jury in January 1989 that he had never given anything of value to Lewis, used drugs with him or seen Lewis use or sell drugs, according to the indictment.
In his opening argument, Roberts portrayed Barry as a regular drug user whose friends and acquaintances brought drugs to him even at his City Hall office.