Writer Nevada Barr sanctioned for lying under oath

Published 8:23 pm Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Best-selling writer Nevada Barr has paid $11,000 in sanctions for lying under oath about an extramarital affair and for destroying a computer believed to be used to write a breakup letter to her then-husband, an attorney says.

Hinds County Chancellor Dewayne Thomas imposed the sanctions against Barr on April 12. In a separate ruling, he also ordered Barr to transfer $280,737 to a retirement account for her ex-husband, Richard Broderick Jones, and pay $2,500 in back property taxes on house where the couple had lived in Clinton.

Kathleen A. Conway, an attorney for Jones, said Monday that Barr had paid the sanctions, attorneys’ fees, property taxes and tendered the documents for the retirement fund.

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“Hopefully, this will send a strong message to anyone who believes they can lie to the court. It won’t be tolerated even if you’re rich and famous,” Conway said Monday at the courthouse.

Barr, whose works include “Winter Study” and the more recent “Burn”, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment Monday from The Associated Press. Barr now lives in New Orleans.

Conway said Barr had been acting as her own attorney in court.

The rulings were the latest developments in the long-running case.

Thomas’ order found Barr guilty of perjury and destruction of evidence.

In the retirement ruling, Thomas wrote that Barr had attempted to transfer the $280,000 to Jones on multiple occasions, but her ex-husband wouldn’t cooperate because he sought an additional $83,000, which he had claimed was in the fund at the time of the divorce.

Thomas denied the extra money, and declined to award interest on the retirement award.

A judge finalized the divorce for the couple in 2006 after the two had been married for eight years. But Jones had challenged the distribution of marital assets and lost.

However, the Mississippi Supreme Court in 2008 sent the case back to the lower court to determine if Barr should be sanctioned for lying about the affair in a pre-trial deposition.

Barr had testified she initially lied about when the affair began because she wanted to protect the man, who is now her husband, from possibly losing his job.

An earlier court deposition showed Barr was evasive about whether she wrote a breakup letter to Jones and eventually was asked to turn over the computer used to write it. Barr testified that she destroyed the computer before her husband requested it.