Nashville's Democratic mayor resigns after affair, pleads guilty to felony theft charge

Hannah Rogers
March 7, 2018

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony theft of property over $10,000 related to her affair with former police bodyguard Sgt. Rob Forrest. Instead of jail, Barry will serve three years of probation and agreed to repay the city $11,000 in reimbursement fees, although it was reported she spent almost $33,000 of the government's money.

"It has been my honor and it has been the privilege of my entire professional life to have had the blessing and the opportunity to be your mayor", Barry said at a news conference, "God bless this wonderful city".

Funk declined to comment after the hearing.

The photos were referenced in an affidavit in support of a search warrant seeking possession of Barry's cellphone.

Investigators also found nude photos of Barry on Forrest's phone. Barry repeatedly has denied that their romantic interactions took place while Forrest was on the clock. Part of her deal included the stipulation that she would resign from public office as Mayor today.

"Today I acknowledged publicly that I have engaged in an extramarital affair with the former head of my security detail", Barry said in a January 31 statement.

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The 54-year-old Democrat, who was elected mayor of Tennessee's bustling capital in 2015, disclosed the affair to the media in late January. Still, a recent Vanderbilt University poll found Barry holding onto a 61 percent approval rating. Barry is expected to resign and Vice Mayor David Briley (D.) will be sworn in later in the afternoon. Both Barry and Forrest are married, but Forrest's wife has filed for divorce.

On trips to San Francisco, Kansas City and Athens, Greece, Barry admitted to staying extra days, accompanied by Forrest, beyond the time she needed to attend conferences, tours or other official reasons for the travel.

Meanwhile, Barry is the subject of an investigation from a special committee of the Metro Council that is reviewing whether she misused public money during the affair. Barry also allegedly deleted text messages between her and Forrest.

The mayor agreed to reimburse the city $11,000. Experts say that isn't up to her.

Increasingly, Nashville's political leaders have expressed frustration about the scandal, calling it a black-eye on a city that has raised its national profile.

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