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Man charged in wife’s murder threatened male lover

Husband of Georgetown socialite claimed to be Iraqi general

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A 47-year-old man accused of threatening to kill his boyfriend of five years in 2004 was charged last week with second-degree murder in the death of his 91-year-old wife, whose marriage he described as a relationship of “convenience.”

D.C. police on Aug. 16 arrested Albrecht Gero Muth for the death of his wife of 21 years, retired journalist and Georgetown socialite Viola Drath.

Police said Drath was found dead on Aug. 12 in the bathroom of her house at 3216 Q St., N.W. in Georgetown. The D.C. Medical Examiner’s office said it determined through an autopsy that the cause of death was strangulation and blunt force injuries.

The Washington Post reported last week that Muth was well known to many in Washington’s political establishment, including journalists and federal government officials, as a colorful figure who claimed to be a brigadier general in the Iraqi army.

Officials with the Iraqi embassy in Washington said Muth had no association whatsoever with the Iraqi army or with the government of Iraq, saying they were dismayed that Muth – who often appeared in public wearing an Iraqi military uniform – was falsely making such claims.

The Post also reported that Muth told the Post that he was romantically involved with D.C. area resident Donald Davis beginning around 2002, when he became estranged from his wife and sought to move in with Davis.

Davis told the Post his relationship with Muth became strained around 2004 and he asked Muth to move out of his apartment. Muth responded by threatening to “have me killed and I should be careful when I get into my car,” the Post quoted Davis as saying.

Court records show that Davis obtained a protective stay away order against Muth that year in response to Muth’s alleged threats against him.

According to a four-page police affidavit in support of Muth’s arrest for his wife’s murder, there were no signs of a forced entry into Drath’s upscale Georgetown house. The affidavit says detectives working on the case discovered from court records that Drath had filed domestic violence charges against her husband on several occasions since 1992.

“On Jan. 12, 2008, the defendant was arrested and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon arising out of an incident in which it was alleged that he had assaulted the decedent with a wooden chair,” the affidavit says. “However, the case was dismissed when the victim declined to go forward with the case.”

The Post reported that Muth confirmed he had a five-year romantic relationship with Davis and moved into Davis’s D.C. apartment in 2002 after becoming estranged from Drath.

The affidavit says Muth denies he killed his wife and insists an intruder committed the murder, even though he acknowledges he was home around the time police believe Drath died and did not hear signs of a struggle or break-in.

He told police he slept in the basement of the house during the night his wife was killed, while she slept in an upstairs bedroom, because she didn’t like air conditioning, the affidavit says. It says Muth told police he chose to sleep in the basement, where it was cooler.

Muth told the Post that the protective orders obtained by his wife and by Davis alleging domestic violence or threats were unjustified. He said his wife obtained at least one of her protective orders against him because she was upset that he moved in with Davis, the Post reported. He said Davis filed his protective order against him out of anger that Muth moved out of Davis’s apartment and returned to his wife’s house, according to the Post.

The police affidavit says detectives interviewing Muth shortly before his arrest noticed he had scratches on his forehead that appeared to have been inflicted by someone else in a struggle. It says police obtained a search warrant to take DNA samples from Muth, with the intent of comparing them with traces of someone else’s DNA found on his wife’s body.

The affidavit also says a witness who knew Muth and Drath told police that Muth presented Drath’s family members with a letter immediately after Drath’s death that Muth claimed his wife wrote and signed. The witness told police the letter called on the family members to pay Muth $150,000 from Drath’s estate “if something were to happen” to Drath.

The letter called on the family to provide Muth with an additional $50,000 if her liquid assets exceeded $600,000.

“Your affiant asked Witness 1 if the signature on the letter appeared to be genuine,” the affidavit says. “W-1, who is well acquainted with the decedent’s signature, indicated that it was not the decedent’s signature,” the affidavit says.

Muth told homicide detectives working on the case that he had no formal job during most of the years he and Drath were married and that Drath had been giving him a monthly “allowance” of $2,000 until she reduced it recently to $1,800.

“Detectives asked the defendant about the significant age difference (some forty-four years) between him and the 91-year-old decedent,” says the affidavit. “He said that the marriage was a ‘marriage of convenience,’” the affidavit says.

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District of Columbia

Bernie Delia, attorney, beloved Capital Pride organizer, dies at 68

Activist worked at Justice Department, White House as attorney

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Bernie Delia (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Bernie Delia, a founding member of the Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes most D.C. LGBTQ Pride events, and who served most recently as co-chair of World Pride 2025, which D.C. will be hosting next June, died unexpectedly on Friday, June 21, according to a statement released by Capital Pride Alliance. He was 68.

“It is with great sadness that the Capital Pride Alliance mourns the passing of Bernie Delia,” the statement says. “We will always reflect on his life and legacy as a champion, activist, survivor, mentor, friend, leader, and a true inspiration to the LGBTQ+ community.”

The statement says that in addition to serving six years as the Capital Pride Alliance board president, Delia served for several years as president of Dignity Washington, the local LGBTQ Catholic organization, where he helped create “an environment for spiritual enrichment during the height of the AIDS epidemic.”

“He also had a distinguished legal career, serving as one of the first openly gay appointees at the U.S. Department of Justice and later as an appellate attorney,” the statement reads.

Delia’s LinkedIn page shows that he worked at the U.S. Department of Justice for 26 years, serving as an assistant U.S. attorney from 2001 to 2019. Prior to that, he served from 1997 to 2001 as associate deputy attorney general and from 1994 to 1997 served as senior counsel to the director of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, which provides executive and administrative support for 93 U.S. attorneys located throughout the country.

His LinkedIn page shows he served from January-June 1993 as deputy director of the Office of Presidential Personnel during the administration of President Bill Clinton, in which he was part of the White House staff. And it shows he began his career as legal editor of the Bureau of National Affairs, which published news reports on legal issues, from 1983-1993.

The Capital Pride Alliance statement describes Delia as “an avid runner who served as the coordinator of the D.C. Front Runners and Stonewall Kickball LGBTQ sports groups.”

“He understood the value, purpose, and the urgency of the LGBTQ+ community to work together and support one another,” the statement says. “He poured his soul into our journey toward World Pride, which was a goal of his from the start of his involvement with Capital Pride.”

The statement adds, “Bernie will continue to guide us forward to ensure we meet this important milestone as we gather with the world to be visible, heard, and authentic. We love you, Bernie!”

In a statement posted on social media, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said she and her administration were “heartbroken” over the news of Delia’s passing.

“Bernie leaves behind an incredible legacy in our city and country — through his life and advocacy, he helped pave a path for LGBTQIA+ residents in our city and within the federal government to live and work openly and proudly,” the mayor says in her statement.

“He helped transform Capital Pride into one of the largest and most inclusive Pride celebrations in the nation — a true reflection and representation of our people and values,” the statement says. “This is the D.C. that Bernie helped build and that he leaves behind.”

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District of Columbia

D.C. Council budget bill includes $8.5 million in LGBTQ provisions

Measure also changes Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs

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The D.C. Council approved Mayor Muriel Bowser’s budget proposal calling for $5.25 million in funding for World Pride 2025. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The D.C. Council on June 12 gave final approval for a $21 billion fiscal year 2025 budget for the District of Columbia that includes more than $8.5 million in funding for LGBTQ-related programs, including $5.25 million in support of the June 2025 World Pride celebration that D.C. will be hosting.

Also included in the budget is $1.7 million in funds for the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, which includes an increase of $132,000 over the office’s funding for the current fiscal year, and a one-time funding of $1 million for the completion of the renovation of the D.C. Center for the LGBTQ Community’s new building in the city’s Shaw neighborhood.

The D.C. LGBTQ+ Budget Coalition earlier this year asked both the D.C. Council and Mayor Muriel Bowser to approve $1.5 million for the D.C. Center’s building renovation and an additional $300,000 in “recurring” funding for the LGBTQ Center in subsequent years “to support ongoing operational costs and programmatic initiatives.” In its final budget measure, the Council approved $1 million for the renovation work and did not approve the proposed $600,000 in annual operational funding for the center.

The mayor’s budget proposal, which called for the $5.25 million in funding for World Pride 2025, did not include funding for the D.C. LGBTQ Center or for several other funding requests by the LGBTQ+ Budget Coalition.

At the request of D.C. Council member Zachary Parker (D-Ward 5), the Council’s only gay member, the Council approved at least two other funding requests by the LGBTQ+ Budget Coalition in addition to the funding for the LGBTQ Center. One is $595,000 for 20 additional dedicated housing vouchers for LGBTQ residents who face housing insecurity or homelessness. The LGBTQ housing vouchers are administered by the Office of LGBTQ Affairs.

The other funding allocation pushed by Parker is $250,000 in funds to support a Black LGBTQ+ History Commission and Black LGBTQIA+ history program that Parker proposed that will also be administered by the LGBTQ Affairs office.

Also at Parker’s request, the Council included in its budget bill a proposal by Parker to change the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs to become a “stand-alone entity” outside the Executive Office of the Mayor. Parker told the Washington Blade this change would “allow for greater transparency and accountability that reflects its evolution over the years.”

He said the change would also give the person serving as the office’s director, who is currently LGBTQ rights advocate Japer Bowles, “greater flexibility to advocate for the interest of LGBTQ residents” and give the Council greater oversight of the office. Parker noted that other community constituent offices under the mayor’s office, including the Office of Latino Affairs and the Office of Veterans Affairs, are stand-alone offices.

The budget bill includes another LGBTQ funding provision introduced by D.C. Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) that allocates $100,000 in grants to support LGBTQ supportive businesses in Ward 6 that would be awarded and administered by the Office of LGBTQ Affairs. Allen spokesperson Eric Salmi said Allen had in mind two potential businesses on 8th Street, S.E. in the Barracks Row section of Capitol Hill as potential applicants for the grants.

One is the LGBTQ café and bar As You Are, which had to close temporarily earlier this year due to structural problems in the building it rents. The other potential applicant, Salmi said, is Little District Books, D.C.’s only LGBTQ bookstore that’s located on 8th Street across the street from the U.S. Marine Barracks.

“It’s kind of recognizing Barrack’s Row has a long history of creating spaces that are intended for and safe for the LGBTQ community and wanting to continue that history,” Salmi said  “So, that was his kind of intent behind the language in that funding.”

The mayor’s budget proposal also called for continuing an annual funding of $600,000 to provide workforce development services for transgender and gender non-conforming city residents experiencing homelessness and housing instability.

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Virginia

Suhas Subramanyam wins Democratic primary in Va. 10th Congressional District

Former Obama advisor vows to champion LGBTQ rights in Congress

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Virginia state Sen. Suhas Subramanyam (D-Fairfax County) (Photo courtesy of Subramanyam's campaign)

Virginia state Sen. Suhas Subramanyam (D-Loudoun County) on Tuesday won the Democratic primary in the race to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) in Congress.

Subramanyam won the Democratic primary in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District with 30.4 percent of the votes. The Loudoun County Democrat who was an advisor to former President Barack Obama will face Republican Mike Clancy in November’s general election.

“I’m thrilled to be the Democratic nominee in Virginia’s 10th, and to have won this election during Pride Month,” Subramanyam told the Washington Blade on Wednesday in an emailed statement. “As I have done in the state legislature and as an Obama White House policy advisor, I will always stand as an ally with the LGBTQ+ community.”

Wexton, who is a vocal LGBTQ rights champion, last September announced she will not seek re-election after doctors diagnosed her with progressive supranuclear palsy, a neurological disorder she has described as “Parkinson’s on steroids.” Wexton is a vice chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus and a previous co-chair of its Transgender Equality Task Force.

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