Mixed Verdict, Divided City

Marion Barry's trial ends with both sides claiming victory

During six weeks of sordid testimony, the drug and perjury trial of Mayor Marion Barry divided Washington. Barry's supporters, mostly black and mostly poor, charged that he had been unfairly hounded by a vengeful federal prosecutor determined to drive a powerful black elected official from his post. The mayor's critics, largely white and mainly middle class, argued that Barry's use of crack cocaine had disgraced the city and undermined the fight against drugs. Thus the divided judgment that the jury rendered last week after eight days of deliberations seemed oddly appropriate. The panel found Barry guilty of one misdemeanor count of...