By Henri E. Cauvin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 14, 2006; 12:52 PM
D.C. Council member Marion Barry pleaded not guilty today to charges that he was driving under the influence in September when he was stopped by police near the White House.
Appearing in D.C. Superior Court for the first time since the incident, Barry (D-Ward 8) stood next to his lawyer, Frederick D. Cooke Jr., as Cooke entered Barry's not guilty plea to four offenses alleged by the D.C. attorney general's office. In addition to driving under the influence, Barry is charged with operating a motor vehicle while impaired, driving an unregistered vehicle and misuse of temporary tags.
The former mayor, 70 , was stopped by uniformed Secret Service officers in the early hours of Sept. 10 after he allegedly ran a red light at 16th and H Streets NW. Officers said they smelled alcohol, and after conducting a sobriety test at the scene, they took Barry to a Capitol Police station where he was given a breathalyzer test.
In an interview after his arrest, Barry said that he had registered a .02, below the .08 legal threshold for intoxication. Today, outside the courthouse, he said once again that he had registered a .02. But police said they could not get an accurate reading with the breathalyzer and ordered Barry to provide a urine sample for testing. Barry refused.
Cooke said that prosecutors had made a plea offer and that he hoped the case will be resolved short of a trial. "Hopefully, we'll be able to work something out," he said after the hearing.
Magistrate Judge Michael J. McCarthy set a status hearing in the case for Jan. 8