Cast of Characters
Navy Secretary-Desginate Mabus Can Expect Smooth Sailing, Despite Messy Divorce
By Scott Wilson
Former Mississippi governor Ray Mabus's messy divorce a decade ago may have spawned a suit that's still being litigated, but it's not likely to emerge as an obstacle in his bid to become secretary of the navy.
Mabus, a Navy veteran who also served as ambassador to Saudi Arabia for two years during the Clinton administration, entered marital counseling with his wife in 1998. Later, in court proceedings, Mabus used a secret recording of one session he attended with his wife and an Episcopal minister. During the recorded conversation, his wife, Julie, admitted to having an affair and threatened to turn his children against him.
As a result, Mabus was awarded legal custody of the couple's two daughters. His wife, who, after remarrying, is named Julie Hines, sued the minister, his church and the diocese for malpractice and fraud. Mabus was not named in the suit.
The case rose through the courts as they weighed the privacy rights involving the church, until it was dismissed in 2006. But it is expected to be taken up on appeal this year by the Mississippi Supreme Court.
"The president nominated Governor Mabus to be secretary of the Navy because he has the proven leadership and experience our nation needs to serve in this important position," said Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman, brushing aside a query about any Obama administration concerns relating to the case.
The nomination of Mabus, a Democrat, has already won some Republican support and is likely to be approved.
Posted at 5:10 PM ET on Mar 30, 2009
Cast of Characters
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