Marion Barry's name was nowhere on the printed agenda as the D.C. Council weighed whether to reprimand Ward 1 Councilman Jim Graham.
But that didn't stop Barry from using the circumstances of Monday's special legislative meeting to litigate the council's 2010 decision to censure his conduct once more and to urge lawmakers not to "repeat the mistake they made with me."
"What happened to me on the council was unjust," said Barry, who also read aloud from the Constitution. "I wasn't given due process, I didn't have an unbiased, impartial jury to judge me."
Barry, the Ward 8 lawmaker who saw his tenure as mayor interrupted by a prison sentence
in the early 1990s, was the first member of the D.C. Council to face public discipline after an independent investigation found that he had steered a contract to a then-girlfriend and collected a portion of the $15,000 deal himself.
Confronted with the findings, the D.C. Council unanimously supported a censure against Barry and stripped him of his committee chairmanship.
But as he railed Monday about the unfairness of the council's treatment of Graham, Barry took aim at his colleagues and said Mayor Vincent Gray, who was chairman of the D.C. Council when the body took action, had "twisted arms" to secure support for the censure.
"One's life and liberty should not be dependent on political bargaining," Barry said. "It was wrong in my case, and I should have done something about it. Vince Gray was wrong."
Barry and Graham were the only two legislators to vote against Monday's reprimand. - Alan Blinder