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Judge Sets Hearing on Whether Barry Broke Probation

By Del Quentin Wilber Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 25, 2009; 5:36 PM

A federal judge has set an April 2nd hearing date to examine whether D.C. Councilmember Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) violated his probation by failing to file his 2007 tax returns on time.

Barry, 72, is serving three years probation for failing to file tax returns from 1999 through 2004 and not paying the bulk of taxes owed on more than $500,000 he earned during that period.

His probation was set to expire March 8, but federal prosecutors have asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson to put Barry in jail for not filing his 2007 returns on time. The U.S. Probation Office also requested a hearing into Barry's conduct. Barry will remain on probation at least until the hearing.

Barry, who underwent kidney transplant surgery on Friday and remains hospitalized, filed those returns last week. In court papers, Barry's attorney, Frederick D. Cooke Jr., disclosed that "small balances" are owed to the federal and D.C. governments.

Cooke urged Robinson not to revoke Barry's probation, saying the former mayor has complied with all other aspects of his supervision.

Barry also did not willfully fail to file his returns, Cooke wrote. His client is suffering from serious health issues, Cooke wrote, and "has been, not surprisingly, increasingly concerned with his mortality."

"He was simply overwhelmed by the medical/health issues that confronted him," Cooke wrote.

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