Threatened With Jail, Barry Files Tax Returns

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 19, 2009

D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) has filed his overdue tax returns, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The filings came a week after federal prosecutors asked a judge to send the former mayor to jail for violating his probation because he did not file the 2007 returns on time. Barry has been on probation since 2006 for previous tax offenses.

The source requested anonymity because the case against Barry remains pending in U.S. District Court. It was not clear whether Barry claimed a refund or owed taxes for the year. Barry could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Barry's spokesman, Andre Johnson, referred questions to Barry's attorney, Frederick D. Cooke Jr. Cooke did not respond to phone messages or e-mails yesterday. WTOP Radio reported the tax filings Tuesday night.

Barry, 72, recently said he had not filed the 2007 tax returns because he was distracted by health problems. He is undergoing kidney dialysis and will require a kidney transplant, he has said.

He pleaded guilty in 2005 to two misdemeanor tax violations, admitting that he did not file federal or D.C. returns from 1999 through 2004. He also admitted that he did not pay the bulk of taxes owed on more than $500,000 he earned during that period. In that case, Barry told the judge that he was deeply sorry and did not pay taxes on time because he was broke.

Barry was sentenced by U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson to three years of probation, a term that expires next month.

Last week, for the second time in two years, federal prosecutors asked Robinson to revoke the former mayor's probation and send him to jail or extend his supervision by two years because he had not yet filed his 2007 returns.

In court papers filed last week, prosecutors disclosed that Barry has failed to file his tax returns in a timely manner in eight of the past nine years. The government is garnishing his wages to pay off his tax debt, and prosecutors have said Barry is behind on D.C. tax payments.

Last week, probation officials joined prosecutors in asking Robinson to hold a hearing on Barry's status, court filings show. No hearing has been set.

Robinson rejected a request by prosecutors in 2007 to revoke Barry's probation for not filing his 2005 returns on time. She ruled that prosecutors had failed to prove that Barry "willfully" failed to file the returns.

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