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VIA THE WASHINGTON POST:

D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D) apologized Tuesday for causing “great embarrassment to the city and City Council” for improperly awarding a city contract to a woman he had been dating.

Barry’s apology comes a week after lawyer Robert S. Bennett concluded in a report to the council that the former mayor might have violated numerous laws when he hired Donna Watts-Brighthaupt. The report said Barry personally benefited from the $15,000 contract he obtained for Watts-Brighthaupt in 2008.

Bennett, who was retained by the council last year to conduct an investigation into earmarks, recommended that the council submit the matter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for possible criminal prosecution.

Speaking Tuesday in the vestibule of Union Temple Baptist Church in Southeast, Barry denied he did anything illegal but said he was sorry for his “very, very poor judgment.”

“Even though there was no violation of conflict of interest, there was a violation of the law of good and sound judgment,” Barry said. “I should have known that even though there was no law against it, it didn’t look good. It raises many questions.”

Barry, who indicated he plans to remain in office, added he should have ended his relationship with Watts-Brighthaupt earlier than he did.

In July, Barry was arrested for stalking Watts-Brighthaupt, but the charges were quickly dropped. He has said the relationship ended, but the two continue to be seen in public together. According to Bennett’s report, he stayed at Watts-Brighthaupt’s house in November.

“I should have given up much earlier on trying to repair a relationship that wasn’t repairable,” Barry said while standing in the church.

Barry declined to answer questions from the media after he read his statement. His attorney, Fred Cooke, said he will deliver a formal rebuttal to Bennett’s report Tuesday afternoon. He refused to make the response public, saying that will be up to Bennett.

“We continue to maintain Mr. Barry broke no laws,” said Cooke, who declined further comment.

The D.C. Council is expected to consider censuring Barry next week because of the conclusions in the Bennett report.

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