Jury Sees Barry’s Alleged Drug Use : Trial: A videotape shows the mayor using a pipe the prosecution says was loaded with crack cocaine. ‘I didn’t have anything,’ he declares on the tape.
Jurors in Marion Barry’s drug and perjury trial Thursday saw a videotaped image of the Washington mayor pick up a pipe allegedly loaded with crack cocaine, light it with a cigarette lighter and take a “hit” by inhaling the smoke, then do it a second time.
Within two minutes, the screen was filled with plainclothes police and FBI agents bursting in to arrest Barry on drug charges, as he declared: “I don’t have any. . . . I didn’t have anything.”
Then, realizing that he had been lured into a federal sting operation by a former mistress, Barry began to repeat, over and over: “Goddamn setup. . . . I’ll be goddamn . . . bitch set me up,” as agents read him the arrest charges and checked his heartbeat and blood pressure for any reaction to the drug.
The tape of the arrest last Jan. 18 strongly suggests that Barry knew what he was doing and how to do it at the moment when he lit the pipe. But the tape also shows Rasheeda Moore, the ex-model who lured him to the spot, repeatedly urging Barry to try the substance, which he is seen paying for on the tape.
For much of their conversation, which reflects the intimacy of a close relationship, it appears that Barry was more interested in sleeping with Moore than in smoking any cocaine. There is no sexual act on the tape, however.
R. Kenneth Mundy, Barry’s lead defense lawyer, has denounced the arrest as “entrapment pure and simple” and egregious misconduct by a government that he says had tried to “get” Barry for years. Late Thursday, Mundy opened a counterattack by attempting to brand Moore’s cooperation with the FBI as the act of a desperate woman, jobless and spending welfare checks on cocaine.
Mundy also made a move Thursday to advance the political side of this racially charged case by attempting to bring Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan into the courtroom as a “guest of the defense.” But on orders of federal Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, U.S. marshals barred Farrakhan from the courtroom.
Mundy, whose objections to prosecution tactics have been regularly overruled by Jackson, rose to protest in open court, drawing a sharp rejoinder from the judge. The presence of Farrakhan in the courtroom would be “disruptive, if not intimidating,” Jackson said.
“He is persona non grata in this courtroom. He will be barred henceforth for the balance of the trial,” the judge declared.
Mundy hinted at an appeal to a higher court and asked the judge to give a reason for his action, but Jackson snapped: “My reason is on the record. You can take it to the court of appeals if you wish.”
Earlier Thursday, Assistant U.S. Atty. Judith E. Retchin carefully led Moore through a narrative account of the alleged crack-smoking incident at the Vista International Hotel, where Barry was arrested, in an attempt to preempt Mundy’s claim of entrapment by putting a prosecution spin on that evidence.
She drew from Moore that Barry first brought up the subject of drugs early in the videotaped encounter by asking Moore “have you been good?"--which Moore said was part of their private, drug users’ language. “It was understood dialogue between the two of us,” Moore said.
In dramatic testimony Wednesday, Moore had told the jury that she and Barry had used cocaine and other drugs “over 100 times” over nearly three years, starting in June, 1986.
Moore also denied that she put any “pressure” on Barry to take the pipe, and she insisted that he had known for years how to light up most kinds of crack pipes, including the tube-like “stem” or “straight shooter” that was used that night. And she specifically denied ever using the term “chicken” to egg Barry on to drug use. In recent weeks, Barry supporters have passed the word that Moore pushed Barry into transgression by telling him it would be “chicken” not to do so. The word “chicken” does not occur on the hourlong videotape.
Retchin, anticipating Mundy’s cross-examination, also led Moore through the most self-flattering possible account of her decision to cooperate with the FBI in a sting aimed at Barry.
Moore said that she was promised no lenient treatment by authorities, but rather was led by a desire to “get rid of a lot of things” in her life, in a “personal cleansing” that she said derived from a turn to religion during a lean period in her personal fortunes.
“It was the right thing to do,” she said, as well as a way to help turn Barry away from the path she believed he was on.
“If a leader is corrupt, it will affect the people, just as my drug abuse affected my family,” she said. “If there is a leader in a city who does not lead properly, that will trickle down to the people. The mayor and I had talked about the effect (of) drug abuse. . . . He (once) said to me he realized it affected his position as a leader.”
On the tape, Barry is seen and heard paying for crack supplied by “Wanda,” an undercover FBI agent working the sting with Moore, but he also is shown reluctant to use it.
Similarly, in an audiotape also played for the jury Thursday of a phone conversation earlier that evening in which Moore invites Barry to the Vista, it is as though Barry suspected something was up but then went ahead and took the risk.
“There are too many nosey roses around these days,” he said on the phone, at first refusing to go to Moore’s hotel room.
In the room, with the crack paid for and delivered, Barry at first says: “I don’t smoke no more, honey,” and then he is seen and heard to play coy for many minutes, while Wanda pretends to go out to get some powder cocaine for him to inhale. But no sooner is Wanda out of the room than Barry asks: “You got a pipe?” When one is produced, he asks: “How does this work? I don’t know how this work. I never done this before.”
Appearing incredulous, Moore explains where the crack goes and where to apply the flame. “Let me give you a lighter,” she says.
“You do it,” Barry says, over and over.
“I thought you bought this ‘cause you wanted to take a hit,” she says. Moore protests that smoking crack makes her “hyper.”
But while they talk back and forth, the tape shows Barry standing up from the bed on which he had been sitting, walking over to the table where the pipe had been left, picking it up, lighting it and smoking it twice--even while Moore keeps talking about geting “hyper.”
“You all right?” she asks. “You don’t want to take another one?”
Barry replies: “No, you’re crazy.”
He puts on his jacket in a move to leave and is heard trying to call his security detail on his walkie-talkie when FBI agents enter the room and arrest him.