Prosecutors Want Barry Jailed Over Tax Returns

Del Quentin Wilber, Washington Post, February 10, 2009

For the second time in two years, frustrated federal prosecutors took aim at Marion Barry’s chronic failure to file his tax returns and urged a judge to put him in jail.

The move by authorities is the latest act in a long-running tug of war between authorities and the D.C. Council member over his tax status. In all, prosecutors say, Barry has failed to file his returns on time in eight of the past nine years.

Yesterday, they urged a federal judge to revoke Barry’s probation for tax offenses just weeks before it expires.

Barry, 72, in the past has called such legal efforts “frivolous” and has said his tax problems are a “personal matter.”

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Barry’s office issued a statement last night saying he hasn’t seen the prosecutor’s motion. “I don’t have any idea as to what the motion says,” he said. “I’m busy doing my work on the Council helping people get jobs and find affordable housing.”

Legal experts said Barry (D-Ward 8) is in serious legal jeopardy this time around, especially because the judge let him off the hook in 2007 under similar circumstances.

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Schertler said Barry could expect to be sentenced to several months in jail. He might earn some leniency if he files his returns in the next few days, Schertler said.

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Prosecutors don’t usually have to pursue tax offenders for continuing to break tax laws because such repeat violations are rare.

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Ironically, Barry might be due a tax refund, because the D.C. government withholds a portion of his $92,530 salary, according to sources familiar with the matter.

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