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Wife's Lawyer:
McGreevey Failed to Cash In on Fame

Wife's Lawyer:
McGreevey Failed to Cash In on Fame

Mcgreevey_20060522_5

The nation's first openly gay governor could have become a talk-show host, pursued a movie deal, or otherwise cashed in on his fame after a sex scandal forced him from office, a lawyer for his estranged wife argued Monday. John Post, who represents Dina Matos McGreevey, is trying to convince the judge in the couple's divorce case that James McGreevey has underestimated his earning potential and net worth to avoid paying alimony to his soon-to-be ex-wife. McGreevey's lawyer, Stephen Haller, has tried to show that his client, now an Episcopal seminary student, is too poor to pay.

The nation's first openly gay governor could have become a talk show host, pursued a movie deal, or otherwise cashed in on his fame after a sex scandal forced him from office, a lawyer for his estranged wife argued Monday.

John Post, who represents Dina Matos McGreevey, is trying to convince the judge in the couple's divorce case that former New Jersey governor James McGreevey has underestimated his earning potential and net worth to avoid paying alimony to his soon-to-be ex-wife.

McGreevey's lawyer, Stephen Haller, has tried to show that his client, now an Episcopal seminary student, is too poor to pay. The 50-year-old former governor has testified that he does not want to pursue high-profile jobs because he wants to quietly get on with his life.

Lawyers for the McGreeveys repeatedly clashed over money matters Monday as the judge tried to untangle the couple's assets and debts.

The McGreeveys have been separated since he left office in November 2004, three months after he said he had an affair with a male staffer and planned to resign. The staffer denies he had an affair with McGreevey and accused him of sexual harassment.

The couple have agreed on custody of their only child, a 6-year-old girl, but are far apart on how much money Matos McGreevey should receive, if she receives any. She claims she should be compensated for the 13 months she would have lived in the governor's mansion had her husband not resigned.

An accountant hired by McGreevey said it would cost $15,000 a month for the governor and his wife to live like they did at the governor's mansion; an expert hired by Matos McGreevey said it would cost $51,000 a month.

The two sides also clashed over the cachet of the McGreevey name.

The former governor's expert, Sharyn Maggio, testified that neither McGreevey nor his wife could expect to enhance their earnings based on the fame they achieved from his resignation -- or their divorce, which has been televised on Court TV.

''Charles Manson was famous,'' Maggio testified. ''That doesn't equate to celebrity in the financial sense.''

An employment expert testified last week that McGreevey's political fall rendered him ''radioactive'' in the professional world.

However, his wife's expert claims McGreevey could earn $1.4 million in his lifetime because of the celebrity status attached to his name.

During cross-examination, Post tried to poke holes in Maggio's testimony by showing that her earnings and lifestyle estimates were based on information provided only by McGreevey.

The McGreeveys maintained separate finances, Post argued, so basing calculations only on the governor's checking and tax information rendered Maggio's conclusions inaccurate. Matos McGreevey used the bulk of her salary as a hospital executive to buy clothes and food for herself and the couple's daughter, her lawyer said.

Besides alimony, Matos McGreevey, 41, is also asking the court to award her damages based on the contention that McGreevey committed marriage fraud. She claims she was duped into marriage by a gay man who needed the cover of a wife to advance his political career.

McGreevey counters that his wife, whom he married in 2000, should have known he was gay.

The former governor was to take the stand when the trial resumes Wednesday. (Angela Delli Santi, AP)

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