McGreeveys' Divorce: The tip of the iceberg?

March 23, 2008 9:06:54 AM PDT
If Dina Matos McGreevey presses a claim that she was duped into marrying New Jersey's gay ex-governor, she'll likely endure a mountain of embarrassing evidence exposed at the trial.

"This week was just the tip of the iceberg," Union County Superior Court Judge Karen Cassidy cautioned the warring former first couple at a hearing Thursday.

Dina Matos McGreevey, 41, will try to prove in her divorce trial that she's a wronged woman who was tricked into marriage to cover for a closeted homosexual with grand political ambitions. That constitutes fraud and entitles her to damages, she contends.

Her estranged husband, Jim McGreevey, will call witnesses like Teddy Pedersen, a young former campaign aide who says he had regular sexual trysts with the McGreeveys for about two years before McGreevey was sworn in as the Garden State's 51st governor in 2002.

"It is virtually assured that the detail that was expressed in the deposition testimony will be laid bare for public observation," said Stephen Haller, who represents McGreevey in the ongoing divorce case.

That's lawyer-speak for "you ain't seen nothing yet."

McGreevey, 50, resigned in 2004 after being blackmailed by a male aide whom he'd put on the state payroll as homeland security adviser. McGreevey claimed the two had an affair; the aide denied the affair and said he was sexually harassed by the governor.

The McGreeveys, estranged since he quit as governor, are fighting over custody, alimony and child support - she is seeking $600,000 for being deprived of the first lady lifestyle after he resigned in disgrace. But the most embarrassing details of their private lives are likely to surface when lawyers argue Matos McGreevey's fraud claim.

Pedersen, 29, this week tried unsuccessfully to make Matos McGreevey's claim backfire, going public with allegations of three-way sex that he says started when the couple was courting and continued into their marriage. He says his presence in their bed undermines her claim that she was clueless he was gay when they wed.

"It's disgusting to watch her play the victim card," Pedersen told the New York Post after watching Matos McGreevey comment on television about the Eliot Spitzer sex scandal. Spitzer resigned as governor of New York after being linked as a customer to a high-end prostitution ring.

"She's framed herself as a victim - yet she was a willing participant," said Pedersen. "She was there, she knew what was happening, she made the moves. We all did."

Pedersen described only contact with Matos McGreevey during the liaisons, and said he was unsure whether McGreevey was gay.

Judge Cassidy said she would allow the claim to go forward, at least for now.

Are there more bombshells?

McGreevey declined to comment. Matos McGreevey and her lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.

Cassidy has not seen any witness statements. However, she already has heard enough buzz - and seen enough tabloid covers featuring the McGreeveys and the sordid details of their sex lives - to know from experience as a matrimonial judge what is to come out at trial, which is scheduled to start May 6.