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The Times has a heck of a long read on the marriage between Viola Drath the journalist and socialite and Albrecht Muth, the man accused of murdering her last August. The story comes on the heels of the widely reported news that Muth remains mentally incompetent to stand trial—after a judge ordered him evaluated for a series of bizarre incidents.
While the AP did a lengthy piece on Drath and Muth a few months ago, the Times story benefits from a personal connection. Drath was a contributor to the Times, and the piece makes use of that to sketch out more details about their relationship:
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!”
The rest of the story is engaging in the way that stories like it always are, but this stands out. It seems that the emails were on-the-record but ignored because Muth was just a strange bird. Now that Drath is dead and Muth charged with her murder, it’s notable that the Times has decided to publish excerpts.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery