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Barry Witness Gets Probation on Drug Counts

From Associated Press

A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a key witness in the trial of Washington Mayor Marion Barry to five years of probation on drug charges.

Charles Lewis, a former Virgin Islands government employee, could have received a maximum 80-year prison term on his conviction in April, 1989, for possessing and selling crack cocaine.

Instead, U.S. District Judge Stanley Brotman sentenced Lewis to the probation program, during which he must perform 1,000 hours of community service and undergo periodic tests for drug use.

In handing down the sentence, Brotman said Lewis had extensively cooperated with the Barry investigation.

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Lewis, 50, thanked his friends and family for their support.

“I’m sorry for it,” he said of his drug conviction. “The past several months I have been penitent.”

Lewis returned to his native St. Thomas on Aug. 3 after serving a 15-month sentence in Washington for a drug conviction there.

In a memorandum filed with the court here, Terry Halpern, the U.S. attorney for the Virgin Islands, urged leniency in return for Lewis’ cooperation in the Barry case.

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The mayor was convicted on Aug. 10 on a single count of cocaine possession, a misdemeanor, and acquitted on a second count. The jury was unable to agree on 12 other counts.


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