Marion Barry, the scandal-plagued former mayor of Washington, D.C., who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine before making a surprising return to office, died early on Sunday aged 78. Jillian Kitchener reports.
Marion Barry, the scandal-plagued former mayor of Washington, D.C., has died at the age of 78. Serving as DC mayor from 1979 until 1991, the civil rights activist was once considered one of the nation's most promising black politicians -- that was before serving jail time for smoking crack cocaine. Soon after Washington's so-called "Mayor for Life" was back in the spotlight seeking another term in office. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARION BARRY, SAYING: "Voters understand that everybody, in their lifetime, has trials and tribulations. I am a remarkable -- I had a remarkable recovery. Most people (inaudible) wouldn't be standing here, they'd be either dead, in a hospital, or feeling sorry for themselves." The course of Barry's career changed on January 18, 1990. On that day hidden cameras captured the married mayor in a Washington hotel room with a younger ex-girlfriend, turned FBI informant where he is seen lighting up a crack pipe. FBI agents and police rushed in for his arrest. It's in this surveillance tape that Barry famously uttered an expletive charging that he was quote "set up." But after six months in jail, and talk of womanizing, drinking and drug use swirling around him, his campaigning paid off and he was reelected for for a fourth term. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARION BARRY, SAYING: "So the voters in Washington understand the hurt and pain I caused in 90 but also are a redemptive community and forgiving community." The cause of his death has not yet been disclosed.