Drath murder case exposes bizarre lifestyle of Georgetown couple

Competency hearing set for Muth

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Less is known about Mr. Muth.

According to an email Mr. Muth sent to The Times prior to his arrest, Drath — whom he called a “grand dame” — was introduced to him in the early 1980s during a conference. Their wedding several years later would be one “of convenience,” he said.

“I kept on begging her not to marry him,” said George Schwab, president of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy and a close friend of Drath‘s. “I warned her.”

Drath told him it was Mr. Muth’s enthusiasm for news, his briefings on current events and her feelings that it was “never a dull moment” that justified her staying with a man more than 40 years her junior.

“She was overwhelmed by him in a sense,” Mr. Schwab said.

He was known in his neighborhood for his habit of stalking along Georgetown sidewalks in a tan, custom-made, military-style uniform and puffing on a cigar.

Mr. Muth claimed to be a secret agent and a staff brigadier general with the Iraqi army. He also went by the name Sheik Ali Al-Muthaba and blogged about Middle Eastern military issues, including those relating to Iraq.

In 1994, he gave a lecture at American University as part of the opening of the U.N. General Assembly, under the title of special adviser to U.N. Undersecretary-General Vladimir Pertrovksy.

Six years later, Mr. Muth, now a “publicist,” attempted to arrange a visit to Washington by Pakistan’s ambassador to Turkey, Karamatullah Khan Ghori.

In 2002, under the title of executive director of the Eminent Persons Group, Mr. Muth held a press conference on the small-arms trade in Africa. The organization was an elite, independent commission made up of 24 people with close ties to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

An indictment filed in court lists Mr. Muth’s given name, as well as the moniker “Count Albi.”

“I’ve been around a good long time with people who have titles,” Mr. Chaffee said. “I just knew he was a fantasist.”

Troubling signs

David Jones, an editor with Voice of America and a former managing editor at The Times, recalled a black-tie affair at the couple’s home — one of many gatherings Mr. Muth presided over that participants described as being oddly formal and unusual. Mr. Jones became interested in something Mr. Muth said and had wanted to pursue the detail for a possible story.

“As she was handing me my coat, … Viola whispered in my ear: ‘Don’t believe anything he says. Call me tomorrow, and I’ll explain.’ “

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