Nashville mayor pleads guilty to theft, resigns from office

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry today pleaded guilty to a theft charge tied to her affair with her former police bodyguard, Rob Forrest, then resigned from office.  She agreed as part of a plea bargain to reimburse the city $11,000 and serve three years on probation.

The deal also called for her resignation and she officially announced that at a news conference following her court appearance.

.From The Tennessean’s report:

Barry said is has been her “honor and privilege” to serve as mayor and urged residents to rally behind her successor. 

“No one Is as excited about this city and its bright and limitless future as I am,” Barry said. “Nashville, with its boundless energy, its infectious optimism, it has never encountered an obstacle it couldn’t overcome attitude, will in the years ahead continue its steady march toward the very top of the list of great American cities. It’s a continued climb that I will watch but I will watch as a private citizen.

“I love you Nashville,” she concluded. 

The resignation means that Vice Mayor David Briley will be sworn as mayor.

“I think you in advance for the support I am sure you will give Mayor Briley in the weeks ahead,” Barry said. 

Taking the unusual step of appearing himself in court, instead of assigning a deputy, District Attorney Glenn Funk said that “had this case gone to trial, witnesses are available who would testify that in March 2016 and January 2018 Megan Barry caused over 10K but less than 60K in Metro Nashville city funds to be expended unlawfully on Mr. Robert Forrest.

… The indictment comes days after a Nashville judge issued a search warrant at the request of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation seeking possession of her cellphone.

An affidavit filed with the warrant said nude photos taken from the phone of Forrest are evidence Barry engaged in the affair while he was on duty. Barry repeatedly has denied that their romantic interactions took place while Forrest was on the clock.

The photos are referenced in an affidavit in support of a search warrant that Nashville Judge Steve Dozier signed seeking access to the contents of Barry’s cellphone. It was filed in the Criminal Court Clerk’s office, and Barry’s attorney said he provided the pass code to the mayor’s personal cellphone to the TBI days later.

The indictment comes weeks after Barry admitted to an affair that began in the spring of 2016 with her former police bodyguard.

Barry was the subject of multiple investigations and the charges mark a stunning turn of events for the mayor, elected in September 2015 and seen as a rising star nationally and at the city-level for Democrats.

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