Chicago (AFP) – The first female mayor of America’s country music capital resigned from office Tuesday after pleading guilty to a criminal charge in connection with a long-running affair with her bodyguard.
Democrat Megan Barry, the 54-year-old mayor of Nashville, Tennessee, had been fighting for her political life since admitting in January to the two-year extramarital affair with the chief of her personal security detail.
“My time today as your mayor concludes,” the embattled mayor — seen as a rising star in her party until news of the affair broke — announced in a short news conference.
“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,” she said.
Barry had been facing several investigations since the affair came to light.
The officer, Robert Forest, resigned from the police department but Barry had insisted no professional misconduct took place — and said she would not resign.
“This is a consensual relationship between two middle-aged people who had feelings for each other,” she said in January.
The affair had ended, she said, and both of them were trying to mend their personal lives.
But questions had persisted over the officer’s increased overtime payments during the time of their affair — particularly when the pair were on official trips together.
In a plea agreement, the mayor admitted in court to a charge of felony theft of property over $10,000, according to a statement from the district attorney’s office.
She agreed to reimburse the city $11,000 and serve three years of probation. Forest pleaded guilty to a similar charge, and also received three years of probation.
The city prosecutor told the presiding judge in court that Barry had caused “city funds to be expended unlawfully on Mr Robert Forrest.”
When the judge asked if the accusations were true, Barry responded simply: “Yes sir.”