Politics

DC Council Member Marion Barry No "Peeping Tom," Vows to Fight Stalking Charge

D.C. Council Member Marion Barry is expected to defend himself in front of reporters Monday morning following his weekend arrest on charges of misdemeanor stalking.

On Sunday, his spokeswoman said the former mayor is no "peeping Tom" and was not engaged in any sort of "hide and seek stalking." 

In a press conference on the steps of Washington's city hall, Barry's spokeswoman Natalie Williams said her boss has been unfairly charged, and hopes that if the charges are not dropped the truth comes out in court.

"Council Member Barry is no stalker," Williams said.

The details surrounding the July 4th incident are still emerging, but Williams said Barry had supposedly met with Donna Watts-Brighthaupt -- described as a resident in Barry's 8th Ward -- earlier in the day for lunch. They parted ways. Barry then attended to other events, such as a parade celebrating Independence Day, she said.

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On his way home, Barry "ran into" the woman near Good Hope Road in Anacostia Park, Williams said.

According to a U.S. Park Police statement, the woman flagged down an officer and stated she was being stalked. Park Police questioned both Barry and Watts-Brighthaupt on the scene, and based on those details, took Barry to a holding facility for further questioning. Barry was processed and charged, and later released.

Watts-Brighthaupt told The Washington Post that Barry was pulled over for a traffic violation and that she didn't seek to have him arrested. Still, she said Barry was "trying to catch me" and that she has "tons and tons of evidence to prove" that the council member was stalking her. She said she didn't feel her life was threatened.

Williams said her boss was not following the woman, adding that he was in a car in front of Watts when the alleged incident occurred.

On Sunday, Barry did not talk with reporters, but continued his normal weekend routine of attending church. Although Williams did mention Barry was also expected to contact his parole officer.

Barry has had previous run-ins with the law. In 1990 during his third term as mayor of Washington, D.C., he was videotaped in a hotel room smoking crack cocaine, part of an FBI sting. He served six months in prison before being re-elected mayor and later city council member. More recently, Barry has been on probation for not paying income taxes.

Williams said the woman has received help from Barry over the course of the past few years, including financial and emotional assistance. Watts-Brighthaupt never worked for Barry, but did volunteer on a previous campaign, she said.

Watts-Brighthaupt said she worked as a paid consultant on Barry's 2008 campaign and that they began dating during the Democratic National Convention over the summer. They broke up just before Barry's kidney transplant in February but continued seeing each other regularly, she said.

Barry's due in court Thursday.