McGreevey to testify tomorrow

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">Judge Karen Cassidy listens as former New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey testifies at his divorce trial at the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth, N.J.on Wednesday, May 14,2008. He began testimony saying he proposed writing a book with his estranged wife, but she turned him down and later wrote her own memoir.&#40;AP Photo&#47;John O&#39;Boyle, pool&#41;</span></div>
May 13, 2008 2:49:28 PM PDT
The nation's first openly gay governor is set to be first on the witness stand when his high-profile divorce case resumes Wednesday. Former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey was supposed to take the stand on Tuesday, but an unexpected illness caused a one-day delay. It was unclear who was ill; court spokeswoman Sandra Thaler-Gerber said lawyers representing the estranged couple were instructed not to talk about it.

Neither lawyer returned messages for comment on Tuesday.

The case heads to trial after McGreevey and his wife, Dina Matos McGreevey, failed to make any headway toward a financial settlement. At issue are alimony and child support payments and how the couple should divide their assets and liabilities as they seek to dissolve their four-year marriage.

They split in 2004 after McGreevey resigned from his first term in office following a nationally televised speech in which he acknowledged being "a gay American" and said he had an affair with a male staffer. The staffer has denied the affair and claims he was sexually harassed by McGreevey.

The former governor, now openly gay and living with his boyfriend, currently pays $2,500 a month in unallocated support, meaning child support and alimony are not calculated separately.

Before hearing opening statements, Thaler-Gerber said the judge planned to meet privately Wednesday with the two sides in a final attempt to find some common ground. Superior Court Judge Karen Cassidy has been urging the couple to avoid the public spectacle of a trial.

The couple hashed out a deal on custody of their only child, 6-year-old Jacqueline, after three days of negotiations last week, but details of that deal remain sealed under the judge's order.

Matos McGreevey wants alimony and claims that her husband committed marriage fraud. She says she was duped into marrying a closeted gay man who needed the cover of a wife to advance his political career.

McGreevey contends his wife should have known he was gay and that the marriage was "a contrivance on both our parts."

McGreevey's attorney has said he will argue against alimony because the couple was married only four years and because of McGreevey's income. McGreevey is currently enrolled in an Episcopal seminary. McGreevey lawyer Stephen Haller also plans to call McGreevey's boyfriend, Mark O'Donnell, to testify, as well as two accountants.

McGreevey, 50, lives in Plainfield in a house O'Donnell owns.

Matos McGreevey, 41, lives in Springfield. She works as the executive director of a foundation for a Newark hospital and is a sometime analyst on cable television shows. Both wrote tell-all books and promoted them on Oprah Winfrey's television show.


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