Marion Barry's drug test

The former Washington mayor may face 18 months in prison.

Published January 11, 2006 2:41PM (EST)

When then Washington Mayor Marion Barry was busted for smoking crack a decade and half ago, he responded by complaining, "Bitch set me up."

He's a changed man now, Marion Barry is. Barry served six months in jail after his arrest at the Vista Hotel in 1990, then resurrected himself, serving on the D.C. Council and then ultimately winning a fourth term as the District's mayor. Barry is back on the D.C. Council now, but he pleaded guilty in October to misdemeanor criminal charges related to his failure to file tax returns for six years. As a condition of his release on those charges, he was required to take a drug test last fall -- and he failed.

As the Washington Post reports today, Barry tested positive for cocaine and now faces the risk of 18 months in prison for violating the terms of his release. If anybody set him up this time, Barry isn't complaining, at least not yet. "Write what you want to write," he told a Post reporter Tuesday. "That's my official quote. No more, no less."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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