Embattled Nashville mayor Megan Barry resigns and pleads guilty to felony theft of $10,000 in taxpayer funds (which she caused to be spent unlawfully on her secret lover, bodyguard Rob Forrest) thanks to a deal announced in court earlier today.
Megan Barry resigns following court appearance
In a stunning turn of events, Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk stood in court before a judge today to announce a deal had been agreed with Barry: she would resign, plead guilty to felony theft, and pay $11,000 in restitution to the city. In return she would avoid a trial and receive only three years probation.
The deal was struck a day after Judge Steve Dozier issued a search warrant seeking Barry’s cellphone. It was believed the contents of Barry’s phone would corroborate other evidence that the couple pursuing their relationship while Forrest was “on the clock” (including nude photos believed to be of Barry taken by Forrest).
Thanks largely to the enormous amounts of overtime he racked up, Rob Forrest was paid $53,000 more than the rest of Barry’s bodyguards combined since she took office. Once their extramarital affair became public, Barry denied that the relationship had been pursued at taxpayer expense. Today’s plea appears to be a repudiation of her earlier denials.
Rising star now tarnished
According to reporting in the Tennesseean, the mayor’s only comment to the court was, “Thank you judge. I appreciate you.
Until recently Barry enjoyed 70% approval ratings and was considered by many to be a rising star in the Democratic Party in Tennessee and nationwide. Her felony conviction will not only end her political career, but also prevent her from voting for the foreseeable future.
Most ex-felons in Tennessee are eligible to have their voting rights restored, but it is a complicated procedure that requires her parole officer or other agent to apply on her behalf.
Nashville vice-mayor David Briley will now be sworn in to replace Barry.