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Posted at 11:02 AM ET, 07/09/2009

Barry Will Address Controversy At Noon

Council member Marion Barry will hold a press conference at noon in front of the John A. Wilson Building. It will be Barry's first public comments since his arrest on stalking charges July 4.

Last night, prosecutors dropped the misdemeanor stalking charge against Barry, who had been accused of "bothering" ex-girlfriend Donna Watts-Brighthaupt. But Barry still faces mounting questions about why he gave Watts-Brighthaupt a $60,000 city contract two months after they started dating.

Barry's attorney and spokeswoman Natalie Williams have held numerous news conferences on the saga since the story broke over the weekend, but Barry -- who has been under attorneys' orders not to speak -- has yet to personally give an accounting of his relationship with Watts-Brighthaupt and the events the led up to the stalking charge.

Williams offered a preview last night of some of the arguments Barry may make today. She said Barry would provide proof that Watts-Brighthaupt earned her paycheck as a contractor specializing in "poverty reduction" in Ward 8. Williams added that "it's not illegal" for council members to hire family and friends.

Williams also charged that Park Police mistreated Barry during his arrest. She said Park Police held Barry for too long without giving him access to an attorney after he was arrested.

"Mr. Barry has every attention of elevating these concerns," Williams said.

-- Tim Craig

By  |  11:02 AM ET, 07/09/2009

Categories:  Tim Craig

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