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McGreevey's wife claims extreme cruelty, libel

Dina Matos McGreevey demanded monetary damages as well as divorce from the gay ex-governor.

TRENTON - Dina Matos McGreevey, the estranged wife of the nation's first openly gay governor, claimed extreme cruelty throughout their marriage in a court filing yesterday, and demanded divorce as well as monetary damages for fraud, emotional distress and libel.

Yesterday was the deadline for Matos McGreevey to respond to James E. McGreevey's divorce filing, in which the former governor claimed his wife "knew of my sexual orientation before our marriage" and "chose to either ignore it or block it out of her mind, even when questioned by her friends."

"Plaintiff has been guilty of extreme cruelty toward defendant, commencing from the date of their marriage and continuing from that day until the present," Matos McGreevey's attorneys said in the court filing in state Superior Court in Union County.

Matos McGreevey's lawyers said learning that her husband was gay and cheating on her "had an immeasurable lasting impact." He resigned as governor of New Jersey in 2004 after acknowledging that he was "a gay American" and saying he had an affair with a male aide.

Besides suing over fraud and intentional emotional distress, Matos McGreevey also claimed libel, arguing that her husband and his representatives made public claims that she was homophobic and had made anti-gay statements, charges she says her husband knew weren't true.

The disputes inside the marriage have gone public in recent weeks amid the divorce case and Matos McGreevey's publicizing of her new book, Silent Partner: A Memoir of My Marriage.

James McGreevey said he could not comment on the new filing because he had not yet seen it.