Charles Lewis, one of D.C. Mayor Marion Barry's principal accusers, returned to the witness stand yesterday and appeared to cast doubt on an allegation by another Virgin Islands witness that the mayor forced her to have sex against her will.

Lewis did not testify, however, on the subject that prompted the Barry defense to bring him back to the stand: his alleged relationship with convicted cocaine dealer Rayful Edmond III or Edmond's father.

Defense lawyer R. Kenneth Mundy had hoped to ask Lewis about the notes of a police interview that showed Lewis had told a police detective that he knew "Edmond Jr." U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson prevented Mundy from bringing the issue up before the jury.

Mundy also called Walter W. Bracey, Barry's driver, who testified that he drove the mayor to a grocery store opening and then to a fire department meeting on the same morning in 1988 that a government witness testified she sold crack to Barry at a government building.

Under cross-examination, however, Bracey said that that day -- Sept. 7, 1988 -- was the only day in his 12 years as Barry's driver that he could recall where he had driven the mayor.

Mundy focused much of his questioning on Lewis's relationships with four U.S. Virgin Islands women who corroborated parts of his testimony that Lewis and Barry used drugs in St. Thomas in 1988. At a bench conference, Mundy told Jackson he had information that Lewis had "provided" women to tourists. He said Lewis had been "hustling."

In one line of questioning to Lewis, Mundy sought to rebut testimony from government witness Linda Creque Maynard that Barry forced her to have sex.

Lewis testified that he walked from Barry's hotel room to the parking lot with Barry and Maynard and that Barry gave her "a little peck on the cheek." Lewis said he saw no signs that Maynard was upset, and he said she did not tell him she had been the victim of an attack.

"I saw no hostility," Lewis testified.

Asked whether Maynard said anything to her about Barry, Lewis said she told him, "The mayor is something else."

In other questions, Mundy tried to portray Lewis as a pimp and the four women government witnesses as prostitutes. At a bench conference, Mundy told Jackson that the defense's theory is that the Virgin Islands women testified as a way of helping Lewis in his plea agreement with prosecutors.

"We submit once Charles Lewis got into trouble and difficulty he conjured up these women to testify against Barry," Mundy said. "And he started first, and then the women fell in rapid order right behind him."

Although Lewis seemed to help the defense in Mundy's effort to raise questions about Maynard's testimony, Lewis stymied Mundy at other points, when he denied providing women to island visitors. Barry is not charged with sexual assault.

Jackson said he would not allow the defense to ask Lewis questions about Edmond, and would uphold prosecutors' objections, because "the name Rayful Edmond has such a cachet today in the city and in the present circumstances, I find the prejudicial effect {against the government's case} to outweigh" the value of the information.

Depicting Lewis as a person with ties to a major drug figure was a significant goal of the defense team, and Mundy vigorously urged Jackson to admit the testimony. The defense would like to suggest that the government was unfair in giving Lewis a break in his sentence while prosecuting Barry.

Lewis is the main witness against Barry on the perjury counts -- the only charges carrying a mandatory prison sentence -- and it is crucial for the Barry side to discredit his testimony.

Mundy read to Lewis notes taken by D.C. police Detective Al Arrington Jr. of an August 1989 interview with Lewis: "Edmond Jr. brought Charles Lewis a small amount of cocaine to the party and others watched as Charles Lewis snorted. Charles Lewis introduced Sonny to Edmond Jr., but for unknown reasons they did not hit it off." "Sonny" referred to Sonny Watley, with whom Lewis testified he was involved in drugs.

After Lewis left the stand, Jackson questioned lawyers for both sides about whether the case could go to the jury by the end of the week. Mundy said that he has four witnesses whom he intends to call today, and that the question of whether Barry will testify is still undecided. Mundy said he probably would not seek to introduce expert testimony about the effect of crack use on the memories of some drug-using government witnesses.

Mundy also told Jackson he planned to play videotapes of news conferences in which U.S. Attorney Jay B. Stephens called for possible witnesses to come forward to provide evidence against the mayor.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard W. Roberts told the judge that prosecutors plan to call two or three witnesses during their rebuttal, which he said could be completed in one day.

When both lawyers suggested to Jackson that the case could easily extend into next week, the judge told them, "You've got some pretty restive people there" on the jury. It was Jackson's first reference in open court to an awareness among prosecutors and defense attorneys that the 12 jurors and six alternates appear to be growing impatient with the pace of the trial.

When the jurors returned to the courtroom yesterday afternoon after a long hearing from which they were excluded, several appeared to do a double-take as they filed past Lewis, who was sitting on the witness stand.

Most of the jurors leaned forward and seemed to study Lewis's expressions and gestures as he answered Mundy's questions, and several appeared annoyed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Judith E. Retchin's objections that required further bench conferences.

Most of the day's testimony centered on the only charge for which a witness provided a specific time and date of an alleged drug possession. Government witness Lydia Reid Pearson, an acknowledged crack dealer, testified that she sold Barry three $30 bags of crack at the Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center shortly aftert 10 a.m. on Sept. 7, 1988.

On Monday, the defense called Fire Chief Ray Alfred and former D.C. emergency preparedness director Joseph P. Yeldell to testify Barry was at a fire department meeting that morning. Yesterday, Mundy called others, including Bracey, who said that before that meeting, Barry was at a ribbon-cutting at a Safeway store in Northeast Washington.

Bracey testified that Barry went directly from the Safeway to the fire meeting. The mayor did not stop at the Reeves Center, Bracey testified.

Under cross-examination by Retchin, Bracey repeatedly answered "I don't recall" when asked about other places he had taken the mayor in recent months and years. He said he didn't know where he took Barry the day after the ribbon-cutting, or the day before it, and couldn't recall where he took him over many months in 1990.

Bracey testified that he has never taken Barry to a private residence, and has taken him to city hotels only on "official business." Asked whether he had driven Barry to the Ramada Inn on Dec. 22, 1988, the day of the Ramada Inn episode, Bracey responded that he did not remember.

Eventually, Retchin asked, "Sir, is there anything you do recall, anyplace you do recall taking Mr. Barry besides the event that occurred on Sept. 7, 1988?"

"I just can't recall, no," he said.

Lewis's attorney, Mark L. Shaffer, said he thought Lewis had been "a very effective and truthful witness for the defense," but he denied Mundy's assertion that Lewis had provided women for Barry and other island tourists.

Safeway assistant manager Ola Ruth Jones and Marshall Heights neighborhood activist Lloyd D. Smith testified for the defense that they saw Barry at the grocery's ribbon-cutting on Sept. 7. But they could not say what time he arrived or left.

Staff writer Barton Gellman and researcher Ben Iannotta contributed to this report.