Lists of more than 30 possible witnesses, for the defense and prosecution combined, were read at the start of the trial of Albrecht Muth, a former Georgetown resident charged with the murder of his 91-year-old, journalist wife, Viola Drath.
The potential witnesses for the prosecution include several of Drath's family members, detectives and police officers. The witness panel for Muth's defense is much more colorful with potential appearances from George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, David Patraeus, Richard Cheney and Antonin Scalia, along with Muth's doctors.
Both the prosecuting and defending lawyers assured the court that not all of the potential witnesses would be called.
The District of Columbia Superior Court began the trial on Monday after about two years of delays, two vacated trial dates and several episodes that caused the court to evaluate Muth's mental and physical health.
Despite Muth's continued hospitalization, the court settled on letting the trial start without Muth's physical presence.
He will attend his trial via speakerphone and will be able to see and hear all of the court proceedings from his hospital bed, said U.S. Supreme Court Judge Russell Canan.
Muth was charged in 2011 with the beating and strangulation of his 91-year-old, journalist wife, who was found dead on her bathroom floor.
Check back here for updates on the trial.
Muth is probably best known around town for the Iraqi military uniform he wore all the time.
But an eight-page New York Times article “The Worst Marriage in Georgetown,” painted a shady picture of Muth’s life with Drath behind closed doors.
The article portrayed Muth as using Drath for money and political power while alienating her from those she was close with.
“During her years with Muth, Drath’s social world slowly contracted. Guests flooded her home in response to Muth’s invitations, but she lost touch with old friends,” wrote Franklin Foer in the article.
On August 12, 2011, Metropolitan Police found Drath dead on her bathroom floor and an autopsy the next day suggested Drath had been beaten and strangled.
Muth was charged with her murder a few days later.
And he remained jailed after a judge deemed him a danger to the community and a flight risk, a previous Patch article said.
During the last two years, Muth’s detainment has been filled with ups and downs.
Muth was hospitalized for mental evaluation and diagnosed with “narcissistic personality disorder,” but ultimately designated fit for trial in August 2012.
He was again hospitalized in February 2013 in critical condition after refusing to eat for months. According to his doctor, he continues to fast on and off and remains in a “weakened physical state.”
As of Dec. 2, he was still hospitalized and unable to attend his hearings.
Despite Muth's continued hospitalization, both the prosecutor and Muth's lawyer agreed that they were ready to start the trial. And although he is unable to travel between the hospital and the courtroom, he waived his right to be present, allowing the trial to go on without his physical presence, court records said.