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Nashville mayor resigns after pleading guilty to theft

Nashville mayor resigns after pleading guilty to theft
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry speaks during a news conference in her office on Aug. 7, 2017. She is expected to resign after pleading guilty to theft of property. (Mark Humphrey / Associated Press)

A month after she admitted to an extramarital affair with her then-bodyguard, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has resigned after pleading guilty to a felony theft charge.

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When Barry first admitted Jan. 31 to having an affair with Sgt. Robert Forrest, she said she planned to stay in office. But the revelation of the affair derailed the first term of a mayor who was seen as a rising star among Democrats.

After her plea Tuesday morning, she was sentenced to three years’ probation and a fine.

Forrest also pleaded guilt to theft of property and was sentenced to three years’ probation and ordered to reimburse the city $45,000 — pay he received for times he wasn’t performing his duties as part of the mayor’s security detail.

District Atty. Gen. Glenn Funk said in court that had the case gone to trial, witnesses would have testified that between March 2016 and February, Barry caused over $10,000 and no less than $60,000 of Metro Nashville city funds to be expended unlawfully.

The revelation of the affair led to an investigation, which found probable cause that a nude photo and partially nude photo of a woman found on Forrest’s work cellphone were taken while he was working and the two were engaging in their relationship while he was on duty. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation did not identify the woman in the photos, and Barry has said that if the photos are of her, they were taken without her knowledge or permission.

Metro Nashville police records show Forrest’s overtime more than doubled in the budget the year after Barry was elected in September 2015. Barry said the affair began in spring 2016, an affidavit said.

Barry has not said when the affair ended, only that it’s over. Forrest, who had spent more than 31 years with Metro Nashville police and supervised the mayor’s security detail over three administrations, has retired.

8:56 a.m.: This story has been updated with the mayor’s resignation and additional details.

This article was originally published at 7:55 a.m.

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