Secret Service Testifies Against Barry

The Associated Press
Tuesday, June 12, 2007; 11:13 PM

WASHINGTON -- Three Secret Service officers testified Tuesday that they believe District of Columbia Council member and former Mayor Marion Barry was intoxicated when he was arrested on drunken driving and other charges last September.

The officers told a D.C. Superior Court judge that Barry was stumbling and had red eyes and slurred speech when he was arrested about 3:30 a.m. near the White House on Sept. 10, 2006.

Barry, 71, is being tried on drunken driving and other traffic charges. He said he was not drunk or using drugs and noted that he passed a breath test later that night, even though he failed the field sobriety tests conducted by the Secret Service.

"Everybody knows the field tests are highly subjective," Barry said after the hearing.

Barry was famously videotaped in 1990, during his third term as mayor, smoking crack cocaine in a hotel room during an FBI sting. He served a six-month prison sentence.

"I've been clean," Barry said Tuesday.

The problems that led to Barry's arrest in September were the result of his age and medications he was taking, said Frederick Cooke, Barry's lawyer. Barry said he is diabetic and has high blood pressure and bad knees.

"The question is whether he was intoxicated, and I don't think they've proved that," Cooke said.

Secret Service Officer Ryan Monteiro said he saw Barry stop at a green light, drive through a red light and put a 1995 Chevrolet Camaro in reverse on a one-way street near the White House. Monteiro conducted a traffic stop at that point and said he smelled a strong odor of alcohol.

"'Do you know who I am? Do you know what's going to happen? I don't like this," Monteiro quoted Barry as saying. The 24-year-old officer from New Hampshire said he did not immediately recognize Barry but thought his name was familiar.

Officer Marie Wadford said Barry failed a field sobriety test but passed a breath test for his blood-alcohol content. He then refused a urine test when officers were concerned that the breath test didn't reflect what they believe was Barry's impaired state.

The breath test doesn't detect drugs or medications, she said.

© 2007 The Associated Press