Democrat Scandal: Nashville Gun Control Mayor Pleads Guilty to Felony and Resigns
Rising Democrat star and Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has resigned after pleading guilty to felony theft charges in criminal court.
Barry’s resignation came after months of intense Nashville news coverage about her relationship with the former head of her security detail, Sgt. Robert Forrest Jr.
Barry appeared in court Tuesday morning and pleaded guilty to theft of property over $10,000. She will pay $11,000 in restitution and serve three years’ probation. After that time, she will be able to apply to have it expunged from her record.
Barry, one of the mayors that strongly backed Obama’s push for gun control, had faced steep opposition as she considered banning gun shows in the city.
The issue of gun violence gained prominence around the time of Barry’s September inauguration when nightly reports of homicides put Nashville on pace to far surpass totals of the previous two years. Among the incidents was a fatal shooting on the campus of Tennessee State University.
Vice Mayor David Briley was sworn in on Tuesday. Briley, a Democrat like his predecessor, promised transparency and said he would work to earn back the public’s trust.
With Megan Barry’s resignation Tuesday, Nashville voters will vote as many as four times in the next year for a new mayor.
At one time, Barry enjoyed 70% popularity, but had her rising reputation damaged by a messy two-year affair with her bodyguard.
The Mayor misappropriated more than $10,000 in city funds to carry on her affair with Robert Forrest, who supervised the mayor’s security detail. Barry agreed to reimburse the city $11,000 in restitution. She will serve three years of probation after pleading guilty to criminal theft. Barry admitted to the affair Jan. 31. At the time she vowed to remain in office, the two were often partaking in domestic and international travel for work. This led Forrest to rack up $33,000 in expenses and $50,000 plus in overtime in 2017 on top of his $84,500 salary. Barry and Forrest were alone for nine of the trips.
Last month, authorities charged in court documents that newly discovered nude cell phone photos may be evidence that Barry and Forrest were having an affair while he was being paid to be her bodyguard.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Forrest used a work phone to take two photos while on duty. Investigators said evidence pointed to the possibility that crimes — official misconduct and theft of property — occurred.
In a separate court proceeding Tuesday, Forrest also pleaded guilty to criminal theft in connection with the affair.
He agreed to pay $45,000 restitution to the city. He will serve three years probation.
Barry was seen a rising star among Democrats…until her admission of the affair with Forrest derailed her first term in office.
After she resigned, Barry tweeted: “It has been the honor and it has been the privilege of my entire professional life to have had the blessing of this opportunity to be your mayor. I love you, Nashville.”
It has been the honor and it has been the privilege of my entire professional life to have had the blessing of this opportunity to be your mayor. I love you, Nashville. https://t.co/19DmJnJG0C
— Megan Barry (@MayorMeganBarry) March 6, 2018
Vice Mayor David Briley was sworn in hours later on Tuesday as Nashville’s new leader. He will serve in that role until an August 2 election.
— Mayor David Briley (@MayorBriley) March 6, 2018
Last July, Barry lost her son to an accidental drug overdose in a Colorado suburb. Morbid obesity complicated Max Barry’s death.
Barry spoke openly about her son’s struggles with drugs. She hoped her own experience and transparency could help others confront similar problems.
“I cannot tell you how many people have come to me and shared their own grief stories about a loved one who died where they never talked about it before,” Barry said in an interview in August.
On her first day back to work after the death of her son, Barry took time to greet children commencing the school year. She handed out supplies and backpacks.
“The first day of school in our household was always a joyous occasion. Max loved school and our ritual was that we would always take a picture every day of the first day of school,” she said.
Barry grew emotional, her eyes misting with tears. She talked about a “new normal” of never talking to her son again.
“The normal is Max is not going to text me back. The work of our city goes on. I’ll get up and do what needs to be done every day,” she said.