Barry drops plea for retrial, awaits sentence Friday

October 20, 1990|By Dan Fesperman | Dan Fesperman,Washington Bureau of The Sun

WASHINGTON -- Mayor Marion S. Barry Jr.'s attorney yesterday dropped his request for a retrial on Mr. Barry's lone guilty count of cocaine possession, and his request for a delay in sentencing was denied. This means Mr. Barry will be sentenced Friday, 11 days before voters decide whether to elect him to an at-large City Council seat.

Mr. Barry was convicted Aug. 11 after a racially divisive 10-week trial in U.S. District Court on 14 drug-related charges. The jury found Mr.Barry not guilty of another possession count and was unable to reach a verdict on eight other counts of possession, one count of conspiracy to possess cocaine and three felony counts of lying about his involvement with drugs.

Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson declared a mistrial on the unresolved charges, and prosecutors announced last month they would not retry the mayor. But Mr. Barry's attorney, R. Kenneth Mundy, filed a motion for a new trial on the guilty count, saying that two jurors had been tainted when they saw a federal drug sting operation at the hotel where they were sequestered during the trial. Mr. Barry had been arrested in a similar operation, and its validity became an issue in his case.

Mr. Mundy dropped his request yesterday, saying, "My client elected to withdraw the motion." Mr. Barry did not appear in court yesterday.

Mr. Mundy also asked for a delay in sentencing, arguing that he has not been given enough time to respond to a pre-sentencing report by Mr. Barry's probation officer. Such reports, which usually recommend how severe a sentence should be, are private, but Mr. Mundy indicated what may be inside when he said, "We disagree wholeheartedly with the pre-sentencing report with respect to [Mr. Barry's] acceptance of responsibility." He said he also objected to the report's "addition of two points for obstruction of justice."

Judge Jackson denied the request for a delay and said Mr. Mundy could argue about the report on the day of sentencing.

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