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D.C. Mayor Barry indicted on perjury, drug charges

Mayor Marion Barry was indicted Thursday on three felony counts of lying to a federal grand jury about his involvement in cocaine transactions and five misdemeanor charges of cocaine possession. From his isolation at a Florida alcohol and drug center, Barry accused the Justice Department of staging a "political lynching" and declared that he would not resign from the office he has held for nearly a dozen years. Barry has been undergoing treatment for substance abuse at the facility since shortly after his Jan. 18 arrest in an FBI sting operation.

R. Kenneth Mundy, Barry's attorney, said his client would plead innocent to the eight charges, which carry maximum punishment of 20 years imprisonment and $1.25-million in fines.

The indictment charged that Barry gave three false statements under oath before a federal grand jury on Jan. 19, 1989. In his testimony, Barry denied he was aware that Charles Lewis, a friend and former District of Colombia employee, was involved with drugs, that Lewis had given him cocaine, and that he had given cocaine to Lewis, according to the indictment.

The cocaine transactions allegedly took place inside a Ramada Inn in downtown Washington a month earlier. District of Columbia police went to the Ramada on Dec. 22, 1988, to investigate a maid's complaint that Lewis had tried to give her cocaine. But the detectives stopped short of entering Lewis' room when they learned Barry was with Lewis, and that incident led to a broadened investigation.

Lewis was later arrested and convicted in the Virgin Islands on charges of selling crack to an undercover FBI agent. He was charged with lying to the grand jury and conspiring to possess and distribute cocaine.

Lewis then began to cooperate with the grand jury investigation of Barry, pleaded guilty to two charges and drew a 15-month prison sentence.

In addition to the false statement felony counts, Barry was charged with five misdemeanor counts of cocaine possession - four of them in December 1988 and the other resulting from the FBI sting operation Jan. 18.

In that incident, Barry allegedly responded to the invitation of a longtime friend, Rasheeda Moore, to visit her at the Vista International Hotel and was videotaped by FBI agents smoking crack in Moore's room.

Blood and urine tests confirmed that the mayor had ingested cocaine, and a hair test to determine longer-term drug use reportedly found evidence of marijuana use.