Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has resigned nearly five weeks after she publicly admitted to having a two-year affair with her bodyguard.
Barry appeared in criminal court early Tuesday morning where she pleaded guilty to felony theft of property over $10,000 related to the affair.
Dressed in all black, Barry told Judge Monte Watkins that she agreed to reimburse the city $11,000 in restitution, and serve three years probation.
‘Thank you judge,’ Barry, appearing in a black dress, said, according to The Tennessean. ‘I appreciate you.’
She will give a statement to the media at 10am local time at the Metro courthouse on Public Square.
On January 31, Barry confessed to a two-year extramarital affair with Sergeant Robert Forrest, the city police officer in charge of her personal security.
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry (left) admitted on January 31 that she had a nearly two-year affair with Sgt Rob Forrest (right). She said the affair started in the spring of 2016
Barry is expected to resign Tuesday morning nearly five weeks after she publicly admitted to having the affair
Barry is married and so is Forrest, whose wife, Penny Forrest recently filed for a divorce.
The affair had ended, she said at the time, and both were trying to mend their personal lives.
‘I am embarrassed and I am sad, and I am so sorry for all the pain that I have caused my family and his family,’ Barry said.
The bombshell revelation of the affair derailed the first term of the mayor who was seen a rising star among Democrats.
Vice Mayor David Briley (pictured) will become acting mayor following her resignation
She immediately began fighting for her political life amid three official investigations, and initially ruled out resigning.
Sergeant Forrest retired from the city’s police department.
The sergeant submitted his retirement papers on January 17 and stepped down on January 31, the same day Barry admitted to the affair.
He was the head of the police force in Nashville, Tennessee, for 31 years and served for three mayors, including Barry.
Barry will be the first Nashville mayor to leave office before the expiration of their term in nearly a century, according to the Tennessean.
Vice Mayor David Briley will become acting mayor following her resignation.
An election to replace Barry will occur in August, which is the next general election for Metropolitan Nashville.
Community leader and activist, Rev Enoch Fuzz, called Barry’s decision to step down a ‘blessing’.
Last month, Fuzz called for Barry’s resignation, saying that if she stayed in office ‘important issues are put at risk’.
‘It needs to happen,’ Fuzz told the Tennessean. ‘Our city is in trouble and the mayor is the cause of that trouble.’
Surveillance footage revealed two weeks ago that Forrest and Barry would meet in the early morning hours at the city cemetery during their love affair.
Footage showed Barry’s white SUV entering the graveyard, usually after 7am, on several occasions during their two-year affair, before heading to the back of the site – sometimes re-emerging as little as 12 minutes later.
Barry and Forrest attended 10 city-funded trips by themselves without other mayor’s office staff present, including to conferences overseas in Paris and Greece and the two to Washington, according to an affidavit.
The reason for the taxpayer-funded trips remains a mystery but the mayor’s spokesperson, Sean Braisted, told NewsChannel5, which uncovered the footage, that Barry ‘finds it to be a peaceful place to start her day’.
‘Sometimes she would go for a walk, other times she would sit in the car and either reflect, make calls, catch up on emails, or report issues with vandalism in the cemetery,’ he added.
Barry has apologized to her husband, Bruce (right), whom she said remains committed to their marriage
Forrest (pictured) was ordered to hand over his city-issued phone to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. His wife wants to use the phone during her divorce because her and her lawyer believe it could help her case
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation subpoenaed Forrest’s city-issued cellphone in February to investigate the affair.
State investigators have found a nude photo and partially nude photo of a woman they believe were taken with Forrest’s work cellphone.
Barry’s lawyer said his client turned in her personal cellphone during the investigation and believes she will be cleared of any ‘criminal wrongdoing’.
The mayor told USA Today in Tennessee that the affair started in the spring of 2016. Forrest accompanied her on out-of-town trips beginning in June 2016.
She claimed two weeks ago that all the trips were for business purposes.
Barry is the first female mayor of America’s country music capital — a liberal enclave in the southern state.
She presided over the city’s economic growth, officiated its first same-sex wedding, and advocated for an ambitious $5 billion mass transit plan.
‘She was becoming increasingly visible on the national political stage,’ said political science professor Joshua Clinton, of Nashville’s Vanderbilt University.