…with reports from Associated Press
Mayor of Nashville, Tennessee, USA, Megan Barry, has resigned after pleading guilty to cheating the city out of thousands of dollars to carry on an extramarital affair with her bodyguard.
The Democratic Party politician resigned Tuesday. In late January she stunned the city when she confessed that she was having an adulterous relationship with the former head of her security detail.
“While my time today as your mayor concludes, my unwavering love and sincere affection for this wonderful city and its great people will never come to an end,” the 54-year-old Barry said at a news conference shortly after appearing before a judge.
Associated Press reports that Barry and her former bodyguard, police Sgt. Robert Forrest, separately pleaded guilty to felony theft. Barry’s resignation was part of a plea bargain with prosecutors. She and Forrest were sentenced to three years’ probation.
Barry also agreed to reimburse the city $11,000, while Forrest will return $45,000 that authorities said was paid to him in salary or overtime when he was not actually performing his duties as security chief.
A state investigation into the matter was closed after the plea deal, essentially ending the case.
In court, Barry didn’t say how she stole money from the city, but investigators have said they believe she engaged in the affair while she was on city-paid trips and Forrest was on the clock. The district attorney’s office later said the money Barry paid was for Forrest’s travel expenses while he was on personal time.
Vice Mayor David Briley, a fellow Democrat, was sworn in Tuesday afternoon.
A special election to choose a new mayor will be held August 2.
Barry was riding high when news broke that she had been having an affair with Forrest, whose wife filed for divorce soon after the relationship became public.
Elected in 2015, Barry maintained a high profile in the city, appearing routinely at concerts and other events and spearheading a successful effort to bring professional soccer to Nashville. She was the point person for a $5.4 billion transit plan that Nashville voters will consider in a referendum in May.