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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF VIOLA DRATH: husband, Muth, charged with second-degree murder!

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( JAMES R. BRANTLEY / The Washington Times ) - Viola Drath, shown in May 2004.

The couple hosted frequent parties in their home and across Washington, bringing together the city’s elite, including U.S. government officials, generals, foreign diplomats and media powerhouses. Muth told them that he is a general in the Iraqi army with inside access to leaders across the globe. Muth also would sometimes walk around his neighborhood in a military uniform, carrying a swagger stick.

But the Iraqi government says he isn’t a member of its military. It is one of several claims detectives are investigating as they try to piece together Drath’s slaying, police said.

Muth has no official connection to the Iraqi government or its military, according to the Iraqi Embassy in Washington. His wife’s slaying and the police investigation have exposed Muth as someone who used his wife’s legitimate accomplishments and relationships to build a life of his own that was at least partially based on dubious credentials.

Interviews with numerous Washington officials and journalists have revealed that Muth built an impressive e-mail list over the past two decades that reached the highest levels of government. Ambassadors and defense attaches attended dinners in the basement of his home under the guise of official Iraqi events. Journalists were lured with promises of hobnobbing with high-ranking members of the Iraqi military.

Muth would don official-looking Iraqi uniforms, signed his e-mails with the title of staff brigadier general and frequently contacted the media — including several Post reporters and editors — claiming inside information about the Iraq war. Some of his invitations, obtained by The Post, included the official Iraqi seal and matched typical Washington military protocol and jargon.

When he spoke to one Post reporter by telephone, he would start conversations by saying “Brigadier General Muth here” and sign off with: “We didn’t talk. Good day.”

The Iraqi Embassy said in a written statement: “We are deeply troubled by Mr. Muth’s claim of his service in the Iraqi military. He is not currently and has never been a member of the Iraqi Army. He does not represent the Embassy, its attaches, the government of Iraq, or any government institution in any fashion. In the past, the Embassy was aware of the claims made by Mr. Muth and made it clear to all concerned that they were false and demanded that they must cease.”

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