The FBI transcript of the "sting" of Mayor Marion Barry at the Vista Hotel, reviewed by The Washington Post, suggests that the prosecution and defense will interpret key moments in Room 727 the night of Jan. 18 in different ways -- and each side will find some support on tape.

At one point, Barry told Hazel Diane "Rasheeda" Moore, a former girlfriend cooperating with the FBI, that he had been "so . . . good lately" that he had surprised even himself.

Prosecutors could argue that the phrase was a subtle reference to drug use, while defense lawyers could say he was talking only about extramarital sex.

In public statements immediately after the arrest and in court papers filed in recent weeks, U.S. Attorney Jay B. Stephens has sought to portray Barry's actions on the tape as clear and unequivocal.

Barry had drugs on his mind from the minute he entered the room, Stephens has said, and it was Barry, not Moore, who first brought up the subject of cocaine.

Barry's lawyers have asserted just as strongly that it was the government agents who went too far at the Vista, and that there will be "substantial debate" about who first mentioned drugs.

Another example of a passage on the tape that probably will prompt conflicting interpretations came within the first minutes of Barry's entering Moore's room.

Barry engaged Moore in small talk about her wristwatch, and she said her boyfriend had lent it to her. "You got his nose open, huh?" Barry asked.

Federal prosecutors are expected to argue, and Moore could testify, that Barry was asking whether Moore and her boyfriend were regular cocaine users, sources said.

Barry's lawyers are expected to take the position that Barry was using a metaphor to suggest that Moore was exerting control over her new boyfriend.

Then Barry redirected the conversation to sex, and asked, "Can we make love before you leave, before you leave town?"

At one point, Barry called a female friend who was staying at the Washington Hilton hotel.

The mayor explained to Moore that he had planned to visit his friend there before Moore unexpectedly called Barry's office two hours earlier and invited him to come over.

During his call to the Hilton, Barry mentioned the word "jello," an apparent codeword that prosecutors could argue was used to mean drugs.

After hanging up, Barry returned his attention to Moore, touching her and asking again about making love. "Well, I love you still, even though I didn't treat you right . . . " Barry said. "Once in love, always in love."

Moore, resisting Barry's overtures, complained that the mayor wasn't sufficiently romantic or affectionate. "I can't just jump into it -- you're sick."

Then, another immediate change of subject, as Moore said, "So what are you going to do? Let's do something."

Barry's lawyers, R. Kenneth Mundy and Robert W. Mance, are expected to point to that passage and argue that Moore was the first to mention drugs.

Later, Barry asked about Wanda, a woman Moore had earlier introduced to Barry as her cousin, but who actually was an undercover FBI agent. Barry said, "Your friend mess around?"

Moore, taking the question as one about drugs, responded, "She has some, yeah, sometimes. She doesn't do a lot. She toots {snorts cocaine} more than she'll do anything else."

Soon afterward, Barry said, "I don't have anything. What about you?"

A short time later, Wanda returned to the room, ostensibly in an effort to get cocaine for Moore, but left abruptly. Barry asked Moore if she got any drugs from Wanda, and Moore said no. Barry pointed to the door and told Moore to get Wanda back.

According to the FBI transcript, there is no mention of the word "chicken," which several sources who have seen the tape said Moore said to Barry, as she was asking him whether he would smoke the crack. The Washington Post has obtained information confirming that she asked him the question: "Are you chicken?" Mundy will have a chance to object to parts of the FBI transcript he may believe are inaccurate.

As Moore was asking the question, Barry took the crack pipe to his mouth and inhaled twice, according to information obtained by The Post. Almost immediately, the mayor picked up his jacket and started for the door, as Moore asked if he wanted to smoke more of the crack.

"No. You're crazy," Barry responded.

Barry then turned for the door, and law enforcement agents burst in from the adjoining room.

The first official into the room was FBI Special Agent Ronald Stern, who said to Barry, "You're under arrest."

After the initial confusion, during which Barry was handcuffed and read his rights and Moore was escorted from the room, Barry talked with the agents and with paramedics who were standing by in case Barry had an adverse reaction to the crack.

While Barry was asked by the paramedics whether he was allergic to any medication or if he was taking any prescription drugs, the mayor said over and over that he had been "set up" by Moore.

"I'm all right. I'm OK," Barry said. "Don't worry about it. I'm more {expletive} at that {expletive}."

A medic told Barry that he had been exposed to a dangerous substance, and asked whether the mayor wanted to go to the hospital. Barry said no.

"Man, I should have followed my first instincts, I tell you," Barry said.

Then D.C. police Sgt. James Pawlik said, "I mean, we really didn't want this to happen."

"I didn't want it to happen, either," Barry shot back. "I should, if I had followed my {expletive} instincts tonight, I'd have been alright. I should have stayed downstairs. {Expletive} kept insisting coming up here."

Informed again that he was being charged with cocaine possession, Barry complained about the tightness of the handcuffs, and said, "She was slick, though. I should have known better when she wouldn't do it first. I should have known something was up."

Pawlik then asked Barry if he hadn't expected to be caught in a sting sooner or later.

"I don't know," Barry said. "I guess you all been checking on me for a long time, huh?"

"Obviously," Pawlik responded. "Some day it's got to happen."

"I guess you all figured that I couldn't resist that lady," Barry said.

Pawlik went on, apparently seeking an admission by Barry that he had used drugs in the past.

"Sometimes it's better. Sometimes it's for the good, really. Healthwise," Pawlik said.

"You're assuming I got a problem," Barry said.

"Yes I am," said Pawlik.

"You think I got a real problem?" asked Barry.

"Yes, sir. Respectfully, I say that," said Pawlik.

As the agents prepared to escort Barry from the room, Pawlik asked again whether the mayor "is still feeling okay."

"I'm more mad than anything else," Barry said.

"Well, I would be mad, too, I guess," Pawlik said. "When it's all over, it'll be better for everybody."

Barry responded, "You think so?"

The transcript ends with agents searching Barry -- they found $100 and a credit card -- and then escorting him from the room.