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When Arnaud de Borchgrave, a director and senior adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies and editor-at-large with The Times, went to a dinner at Drath’s home, he recalled the woman appearing “embarrassed, looking at us with a ‘What can I do?’ type of expression” as her husband presided over the meal.

During the years his wife contributed articles to The Times, Mr. Muth corresponded hundreds of times with the paper’s editors. Most emails were rambling observations about daily life in a war-torn Middle East, or cryptically alluded to secret missions abroad.

Others were more personal, such as dinner invitations, birthday party plans or life advice for Drath, and on several occasions indicated Mr. Muth had overstepped his bounds.

After Mr. Muth forwarded to several journalists, including some from The Times, an email containing Drath’s personal feelings on the 2007 killing of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Drath chastised him in a later email for the “breach of privacy.” He also forwarded that email, reminding her that “there is no general assumption of privacy in any dealings with me!”

On March 13, 2009, Drath was sent a letter by Merrillee Carlson, at the time the president of the Families United for Our Troops and Their Mission, now known as the Military Families United.

In the letter, Ms. Carlson stated that her organization would be withdrawing their backing of Drath’s Iraq Liberation Day event because of “communications that cross the professional boundary” that were sent by Mr. Muth.

“As you know, I have expressed concern regarding previous event activities and communications with Mr. Muth,” Ms. Carlson wrote. “The actions of Mr. Muth have made it clear to us that it is not possible to participate in this event in a matter which is productive or effective.”

Ms. Carlson did not return messages seeking comment about the incident.

Undue influence?

In the 20 years Mr. Muth was married to Drath, his name appears in court documents related to abuse charges. Mr. Muth said in the email sent to The Times before his arrest that a protective order had been filed against him by a man with whom he had carried on a romantic relationship while he was married to Drath. That record was not found.

According to court records, in 1992, Mr. Muth pleaded guilty to simple assault against his wife, and in 2006an argument between the two escalated into Mr. Muth hitting Drath with a chair and pounding her head into the floor.

Though Drath was “highly regarded by people who knew her,” it was obvious, Mr. de Borchgrave said, “she was totally under his domination.”

The hundreds of emails contain no answers as to why she remained with Mr. Muth. A spokeswoman for the family said Drath’s relatives were not available at the time for interviews, nor did they respond to individual phone calls seeking comment.

Louise G. Roy, a clinical psychologist in Washington, said the significant factor in the relationship between Drath and Mr. Muth was the age difference.

“We’re falling into the area of elder vulnerability,” Ms. Roy said. “Was she vulnerable to exploitation? She was certainly vulnerable to abuse.”

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