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Ex-Model Tells Barry's Alleged Drug Use : Trial: Rasheeda Moore testifies the mayor used cocaine, marijuana and opium 'over 100 times.' She describes a man obsessed by narcotics.

June 28, 1990|OSWALD JOHNSTON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WASHINGTON — Rasheeda Moore, the former model who cooperated with the FBI in setting up Washington Mayor Marion Barry's drug arrest, testified at his trial Wednesday that the two had used cocaine and other drugs "over 100 times."

During the three years of a relationship that was also sexual, Moore testified, she and Barry used drugs at all hours and in all places--in hotels, borrowed apartments, government offices, a drug dealer's rooming house and Barry's own home.

Moore had been expected to give a detailed account of Barry as a habitual drug user. But the picture that emerged Wednesday showed an obsessive drug user, one who knew how to "cook" his own freebase cocaine when crack was not available from dealers, who sometimes acted irrationally after drug use, who once slapped her to the floor. He occasionally said that he feared he was addicted, she testified.

Dressed in a bulky black suit that was both severe and voluminous, Moore appeared far from the glamorous sylph who had lured Barry to a hotel in a sting operation in which he was arrested last January. He now faces 14 charges, 13 of them related to cocaine and one that he gave perjured testimony to a grand jury investigating his alleged drug use.

Moore spoke willingly, in a firm and modulated voice. Yet she is certain to be challenged harshly by Barry's lawyers as a witness who gave evidence in return for lenient treatment for her own, admitted abuse of drugs and possible perjury.

Moore admitted Wednesday that she had lied in May, 1989, to the grand jury investigating Barry because, she said, "I wanted to protect myself and I wanted to protect the mayor." Moore said that she perjured herself after being admonished by Barry to "be careful" in her testimony.

Moore said that her intimate relationship with Barry began at a cocaine-sniffing party at a Washington apartment in the summer of 1986 and lasted until June, 1988, when Barry, in a rage after taking a crack "hit" in a hotel suite, slapped her to the ground. "There was so much drug use over that period of time, and I was losing myself . . . and my relationship with my children," she said.

But their cocaine-based relationship continued until Moore moved to California in early 1989, Moore testified.

"We used marijuana, powder cocaine, crack cocaine and opium," she said. "I would say over 100 times, spaced over three years. Sometimes it was more than once a day. It would be three or four times a week. . . . It could be any time of day. He would come in before a meeting, have a hit of the pipe and leave, or after meetings, in the evenings, after work."

Led methodically through her testimony by Assistant U.S. Atty. Judith E. Retchin, Moore described meeting Barry for drugs and occasionally sex in 15 apartments--including his, hers and the house Barry shares with his wife, Effi, who sat stonily through the day's testimony.

On a Mother's Day, they met at Moore's mother's apartment in Washington, smoking furtively in the basement so that her mother, a church organist, would not find out, Moore said.

They met in hotels, including "on more than one occasion" the Vista International, where Barry was arrested in January, Moore said. On one occasion she brought $40 worth of crack, obtained from a street dealer, directly to Barry's office.

Once at her mother's apartment--on Dec. 22, 1988, the very day that Barry's relationship with convicted drug dealer Charles Lewis became public--Barry "took a big hit, took in a lot of smoke and held it, and his body shook and his eyes lost focus and he almost fell," Moore recounted. "He had told me, if you feel like you're going to go out, that you're going to lose it, keep your eyes in focus. So I told him to focus his eyes. I thought, if anything happened in her (Moore's mother's) house, she'd kill me."

But after the surge passed, Barry said: "That was a really great hit" and took another one, Moore said.

On another occasion, when Barry came down from a crack-induced high, Moore said, he lectured Moore about the need for "getting his spiritual life together, stopping drugs, going to church. We would use more than $100 of crack at a time. He said he was afraid he was an addict."

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