Both McGreeveys to testify this week

May 26, 2008 8:30:36 AM PDT
With no sign of a settlement in the highly public divorce of New Jersey's gay ex-governor, onlookers can expect more dirt to be kicked up in the week ahead.

Jim and Dina Matos McGreevey are each expected to take a turn on the witness stand this week as a judge tries to figure out how much the governor-turned-seminary-student should pay in alimony and child support.

The Garden State's infamous former first couple has already done thorough job of dragging each other through the mud as they decouple.

Following his famed "I am a gay American" resignation speech, which propelled the McGreeveys onto a national stage in 2004, the pair has been engaged in a lengthy public humiliation battle that seems unlikely to end soon.

"There's almost nothing left to hide anymore," said Paul Talbert, a New York matrimonial lawyer who has been keeping tabs on the case. "They both so firmly believe their positions they can't possibly see there is some vulnerability in their arguments and that a settlement may be in their best interests."

The McGreeveys each wrote tell-all books, then hawked them on The Oprah Winfrey Show. After reaching an agreement on custody of their 6-year-old daughter, they're now slugging it out in a divorce court chiefly over money.

The openly gay ex-governor has testified to his financial dependence on boyfriend Mark O'Donnell, to whom he owes a quarter-million-dollar debt. McGreevey also acknowledged in open court that he owes $11,000 in child support for his daughter from a previous marriage.

He says that as a 50-year-old seminarian, he's too poor to pay alimony to Matos McGreevey, his second wife.

McGreevey listened intently as an employment expert he hired told a judge the former governor is all but "unemployable" because of the gay sex scandal that toppled his administration.

Punctuating the repercussions of his spectacular political fall, his expert testified that the man who once thought of himself as presidential material is now so "radioactive" in the work world he relies on friends to hire him.

Matos McGreevey lawyer John Post claims McGreevey could capitalize on his notoriety if he wanted to, but has instead deliberately underestimated his earning potential.

Asked why he turned down the chance to host a radio talk show, McGreevey said, "I want to go on with my private life. I have no intention of continuing with this charade."

Both McGreeveys' reputations have been sullied by their much-watched divorce, accountant Sharyn Maggio testified.

Maggio said neither partner can expect to enhance their earnings based on the fame they achieved from his resignation or their divorce.

"Charles Manson was famous - that doesn't equate to celebrity in the financial sense," Maggio told the judge.

Matos McGreevey, 41, claims her husband committed marriage fraud and wants compensation for a lifestyle she enjoyed in the governor's mansion - a lifestyle cut short by her husband's abrupt and stunning resignation.

He says he stepped down rather than give in to a blackmail attempt by a male staffer with whom he'd had an affair. The ex-staffer says the affair didn't happen, and that he was sexually harassed by the governor.

Matos McGreevey claims she was entitled to the perks of his job - state police security, a household staff and use of state helicopters and beach homes - for 13 more months. That's how long remained in his first term when he left office in disgrace.

McGreevey says the so-called gubernatorial lifestyle is a privilege provided by New Jersey taxpayers, not an entitlement.

Once a judge hears all the testimony on alimony and child support, the case will move to Matos McGreevey's claim for damages based on fraud. She claims she is entitled to extra money because she was duped into marrying a gay man who needed the cover of a wife to advance his political career.

That phase of the trial could include testimony from a former campaign aide who claims to have had regular sexual encounters with the McGreeveys.

Matos McGreevey claims the encounters did not happen; her lawyer has moved to bar testimony of the aide, Teddy Pedersen.

McGreevey says the encounters happened. His lawyer says Pedersen's testimony casts doubt on Matos McGreevey's claim that she was in the dark about her husband's sexuality.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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