Sunglasses, Sulaimon Brown, and Marion Barry: Scenes from a D.C. Council hearing

Correction:

This story originally stated that U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner's press conference occurred in Washington. Weiner spoke from New York.

Sulaimon Brown, former government employee, sat all alone. He had with him documents that he said would help prove D.C. Mayor Vince Gray was a crook, and a District badge that would be confiscated by the end of the day. He wore a suit, a tie, and a pair of sunglasses, which he flatly refused to remove.

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“Mr. Brown, sorry, may I interrupt you?” Councilmember Mary Cheh asked, as Brown was reading from a statement Monday afternoon. “It would be preferable if you would please remove your sunglasses unless you have some medical reason.”

The crowd waited.

“Mr. Brown?” Cheh asked again.

On the matter of sunglasses worn indoors, Brown wouldn’t budge. He said he wouldn’t do as she said, waited a few seconds and just kept reading.

It was not an auspicious start to the bizarre session. Brown walked into Monday’s hearing flashing copies of money orders for the television cameras. He shot down questions from Cheh, whose legal actions forced his appearance in council chambers Monday. He traded insults with David Catania. Before long, he was facing someone who knows a little something about scandals in District government.

“I've never been to a hearing like this before,” Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry said.

Over a stretch of several hours of questioning from D.C.councilmembers, Brown was at times defiant and uncooperative. The auditor and former long-shot mayoral candidate, who suspiciously landed a well-paid government job and was then promptly sacked from District government, danced his way through the inquiry with the council. At times he pushed back, at times he read from documents that did seem to help back up his claims. He sat through about five hours of grilling. After all that, though, several questions were left lingering.

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