Barry Defense Rests Without Calling Him to Stand
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The defense rested in Marion Barry’s drug and perjury trial Friday, keeping Barry off the stand rather than give prosecutors a chance to question him before the jury.
Prosecutors immediately began their rebuttal case, attacking the accuracy of the testimony of four witnesses who had appeared at the trial on Barry’s behalf.
″I have advised Mr. Barry that no matter how we restrict his testimony ... he would still be subject to cross-examination,″ R. Kenneth Mundy, one of Barry’s attorneys, told the judge.
Mundy said he had told Barry he could have expected to face ″all the questions″ prosecutors wanted to ask about the numerous allegations of drug use.
Prosecutors said they expected to complete their rebuttal case on Monday. Mundy said he wants to recall two witnesses following the government’s rebuttal. U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson said closing arguments would be next Tuesday or Wednesday.
Barry told reporters later he wanted to avoid the theatrics his tesimony would have produced. ″It would have been good Perry Mason drama, L.A. Law drama, but I’m not about Perry Mason drama,″ he said.
″My spirits are high; my defense is on course.″
The prosecution tried to strike back quickly Friday, introducing a city form indicating a defense witness had been absent from work at a time he has testified he had accepted a document figuring prominently in one of the charges against Barry.
Cliff Roberson, an assistant to longtime Barry aide Anita Bonds, has testified he took a job application from admitted cocaine dealer Lydia Reid Pearson shortly after 10 a.m. on Sept. 7, 1988. Pearson has testified she handed the application - and crack cocaine - to Barry that morning.
The form indicates that Roberson was absent for two hours that day. The typewritten original portion says he was missing from 4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m., but that time is scratched out and the hours 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. are handwritten above it.
The form, signed by Bonds, included a handwritten note indicating that Roberson had been ″laying a gravestone for my father’s grave″ that morning.
Former Bonds assistant Darcelle Walker testified that she typed the form and also said she recognized Bonds’ signature. She identified the handwriting in the margin as Roberson’s but said under cross-examination she didn’t know who had written in the changes on the form.
The charge involved is the most specific of the drug possession charges, with regard to date and time, of the 10 the mayor faces. He is also charged with conspiracy and with three felony counts of perjury.
As Assistant U.S. Attorney Judith Retchin introduced the form on Friday, Barry huddled briefly with Bonds at the defense table and then turned away with a scowl on his face.
Bonds, who had been managing Barry’s re-election campaign, volunteered her services to the mayor’s legal defense after he dropped his plans for a fourth term.
The defense plans to bring Roberson back to the witness stand next week, if the judge will allow it, said Mundy.
After the trial, the mayor said he believed Roberson had been at work when Pearson left the application, adding, ″I know I didn’t take it.″
As part of its rebuttal case, the prosecution also called:
-Delois Mise, who testified that she saw Barry bodyguard, police officer James Stays, snort cocaine at a 1985 party. Stays had testified for the defense that he never saw Barry use drugs on a March 1988 trip to the Virgin Islands. Stays denied that he himself had used drugs at the 1985 party. Mundy said he wants to recall Stays next week.
Police sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the department planned an internal investigation of Stays as soon as the trial is over.
-Terry Lee Brenay, the skipper of a sailboat in the Virgin Islands. He contradicted the testimony of a Virgin Islands couple who said they didn’t have any indication of drug use during a June 1986 boat ride with Barry. Brenay said he and the couple smelled marijuana smoke aboard the vessel. The couple, Albert and Carmen Benjamin, ″expressed alarm″ over the smell, said Brenay.
Mundy concluded his seven-day defense of the mayor by closely questioning the FBI agent in charge of the sting operation in which Barry was arrested after being videotaped smoking crack cocaine.
Agent Ronald Stern should have stopped the Jan. 18 operation before Barry actually smoked the drug, Mundy argued.
″What would you suggest I say to Rasheeda?″ Stern retorted. ″The sting’s off - throw away the drugs?‴
Stern was referring to ex-model Rasheeda Moore, a former Barry girlfriend who had persuaded the mayor to come to her hotel room. An undercover agent posing as Moore’s friend supplied the crack while Stern monitored the operation from an adjoining room.
Stern repeatedly said that it was Barry, not Moore, who brought up the subject of drugs and asked for them.
Before Stern took the stand for additional questioning - and before the jury was called into the courtroom - prosecutor Retchin heatedly denied an assertion by Mundy that Stern had been part of an ″assault force″ targeting black elected officials for drug arrests.