In a new book based on an old videotape, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry is acquitted, proclaims himself rehabilitated and is reelected to four more years. Written by Barry, as told to Clifford Irving, this optimistic little work of fiction is entitled, "WELL, I'LL BE . . . (On A Pension For Life)."
It begins with Barry taking time out from his drug and perjury trial to speak at the funeral for advocate for the homeless Mitch Snyder. There, he vows to veto a bill that would end the city's policy of providing unlimited shelter to homeless people.
A few days later, the mayor realizes that he has already signed the legislation, instead of vetoing it as promised.
"Well, I'll be . . . . " Barry replies. "That Mitch set me up."
Undaunted, Barry returns to the steps of the U.S. Courthouse, where he proclaims that he is more clearheaded than ever after "one hundred and seventy-five days without a mood-altering chemical."
Indeed, his mood has remained the same -- one of blaming everybody except himself for his troubles. It is a tactic that allows him to look his friends in the eye as they are forced to take the witness stand and admit that they used drugs with the mayor.
"The government has ruined a lot of reputations," Barry says.
After six weeks of allegations of drug use and sex, some of which Barry is said to have forced on women, the mayor emerges from the courthouse smiling. Ex-model and former girlfriend Hazel Diane "Rasheeda" Moore has claimed that she and Barry used drugs more than 100 times, including at his home and office.
She claims that the mayor traded city contracts for sex. Other witnesses say they snorted cocaine and or used opium with Barry on 25 and 30 and 40 occasions.
"None of this impacts on me, personally," Barry tells his supporters on the courthouse steps. Little does he know that jurors are now wondering whether Barry had shaved off his mustache for a cleaner look or because he thought a coca leaf had sprouted under his nose.
Nevertheless, Barry is buoyed by chants of "Four more years," from supporters outside the courtroom. His lawyers take this to mean that Barry's charm can be used to make believers out of the jury too. In a move that stuns the international legal community, Barry takes the stand in his own defense.
"I've been free of all mood-altering chemicals for one hundred and seventy-six days," Barry proclaims after swearing to tell the truth.
The prosecutors are pleased to hear that. But what they really want to hear is his version of what happened the day before he stopped drinking.
The FBI videotape of Barry pouring cognac after cognac is replayed to jog Barry's memory.
"I thought it was Listerine," Barry says.
"What about the cocaine?" says the prosecutor.
Indeed, argues defense lawyer R. Kenneth Mundy, when was the last time someone had been charged by the government with possessing cocaine and there was no cocaine produced as evidence?
"That's because there was no coke," Barry intones.
What about the rock of crack that was found in Barry's coat pocket after his arrest at the Vista Hotel in January?
"I thought it was a mothball," Barry says.
What about all the tales of snorting cocaine?
"Snuff," says Barry. "Albino Snuff by Skols, limited edition, of course, very rare."
What about those "special" cocaine laced cigarettes that Barry referred to with his own initials?
"They were 'Marl Boros," Barry declared. "But because they had drugs in them, I said they were 'Mighty Bad' for you."
And what about the FBI videotape of the mayor smoking crack cocaine?
Why, he was merely inhaling medication vapors for a hiatal hernia. Notice how it also suppressed his cough. As for the butane lighter that Moore had handed him, Barry replies, "I guess I should have specified Bud Light, huh?"
Barry was eventually acquitted because, according to the jury foreman, "All of this talk about how long he had been without a drink or a drug made us thirsty. We hadn't been allowed so much as a cold brew since the trial began, and after hearing all of this mess, we needed a stiff drink."
A similar account of the mayor's comeback, based on his book, is already scheduled to become a made-for-television movie. Like those dope-filled cigarettes that he allegedly smoked, you can bet that the TV show will also be some kind of "M.B. Special."