Barry Jurors Split Down the Middle Despite Videotape With AM-Barry, Bjt
WASHINGTON (AP) _ They were split down the middle, even after watching Mayor Marion Barry smoke crack cocaine on videotape.
Jurors’ doubts about the motives and truthfulness of Barry’s chief accusers led to a stunning mistrial on 12 of the 14 charges at his drug and perjury trial, and the FBI’s undercover tape of Barry ingesting the drug wasn’t enough to overcome those doubts, jurors said.
The jury divided 6-6 on the charge arising from Barry’s arrest Jan. 18 at the Vista Intercontinental Hotel - when the mayor was videotaped smoking crack cocaine - and on one perjury count, according to juror Johnnie Mae Hardeman. The panel split 7-5 for acquittal on two remaining perjury counts, she added.
Barry was convicted Friday on one misdemeanor drug possession count and acquitted on another. The jury deadlocked on three felony perjury charges, one misdemeanor drug conspiracy count and eight misdemeanor drug charges.
The jury doubted the credibility of key prosecution witnesses Charles Lewis and Rasheeda Moore, said Hardeman, a former department store supervisor.
Lewis, a convicted drug dealer, testified that he used cocaine with Barry four times in 1988.
Moore had lured Barry to the Vista hotel room where he was videotaped and arrested.
″See, Charles Lewis and all them witnesses, all of them had something to gain. And see, the government paid them off, so that’s it,″ Hardeman said.
Hardeman declined to reveal how the panel voted on the 10 other charges. Other jurors said the panel members agreed not to discuss individual votes.
Some jurors were surprised when U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson declared a mistrial on the remaining 12 charges.
″We were really thinking he was going to send us back to the hotel for the weekend,″ juror Joseph Deoudes said Saturday. ″Nobody wanted to stay another weekend. I think he saw the handwriting. I don’t think further deliberations would have brought out anything.″
Jury foreman Edward P. Eagles, a history teacher at a prestigious private school, reminded reporters, ″Never forget that famous phrase, that key phrase, in law ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’ That’s a very, very tough standard to meet.″
Jurors described the deliberations as calm, conscientious, orderly, objective and devoid of racial overtones among the panel members. Ten jurors were black, two white.
″I don’t think people were looking at the case in terms of race or politics,″ said Deoudes, 23. ″I didn’t see any signs of racism either way. We were above all that.″
″It was not black against white,″ Hardeman said. ″It was more government against mayor.″
Juror Harridell Jones, 58, said, ″We had differences of opinion, but we got along fine″ and argued points about the testimony.
Once the jury returned to the hotel each night, ″there was good rapport with everyone,″ Deoudes said.
Eagles told reporters that jurors exchanged phone numbers and addresses and he predicted that friendships will remain ″once you all go on to other activities.″
The jurors were housed at a hotel in New Carrollton, Md., on the night of Aug. 2 when the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration staged a drug sting operation in the parking lot.
Deoudes said the jury ″had an idea what had happened″ that night, but they didn’t find out until after the trial that the suspect was Brian Tribble, who was acquitted in a 1987 drug case in connection with the death of University of Maryland basketball star Len Bias.
He said some jurors rooms faced the parking lot and they saw men with FBI and DEA jackets that night. In the morning, Deoudes said, ″There were television reporters all around when we left the hotel, so we knew our location had been compromised.″
The jury was moved to a different hotel that day.