In a brief interview at her D.C. home, Dybczak said she and her family had been “devastated” by Halligen but declined to say more.
On the last Friday in April 2007, she wore a white wedding gown at a spectacular evening ceremony at the Evermay estate in Georgetown.
Dybczak’s family, who friends said paid for most of the wedding, came to town from Alabama. Halligen flew over at least a dozen friends from London, first-class, and put them up in suites at the Hay-Adams Hotel. Washington guests included Koch and Garrett, the Patton Boggs lobbyist, who was Halligen’s best man.
Security men with earpieces watched over the high-powered crowd of about 100 people, and guests were met by a sign in calligraphy telling them that no cameras or phones were allowed.
Wedding photographer Clay Blackmore said Dybczak asked him to shoot film only — no digital images.
“She told me, ‘Richard is very connected, and anybody wearing a pin on their lapel can’t be photographed,’ ” Blackmore said. “She told me ‘Richard is top-level and he’s a secret agent’ or something like that. I just bought into it like everybody else did.”
McGuinn said Dybczak and Halligen went “hog-wild” on the wedding, with a huge fireworks display and an extravagant dinner of lobster and lamb in the ballroom, where dinner chairs were covered with thousands of dollars’ worth of silk pillows.
On Evermay’s grand back terrace, Halligen and Dybczak stood on a carpet of rose petals as the minister read vows from a leather-bound notebook and pronounced them husband and wife.
What the guests didn’t know was that the minister was Harry Winter, a professional actor from Arlington’s Signature Theatre, who was hired by the couple to preside over an elaborate fake.
According to friends, Halligen told Dybczak just before the wedding — when guests had been invited and arrangements made — that because he was involved in undercover intelligence operations, he could not sign any public documents — including a marriage license.
It’s unclear whether Dybczak believed him. But rather than cancel the ceremony, she helped him arrange the show wedding. Winter said she paid him $300 in cash.
“It was a wonderful, beautiful service,” Winter said in an interview. “Nobody knew it wasn’t real.”
Nor did they know that Halligen was already married.
British records show that Halligen had been married 16 years earlier to a woman named Jennifer Darvill, and he was still married to her at the time of the Evermay wedding.
“He told me plenty of lies,” said Darvill, reached in England.
Darvill said she met Halligen in 1988, and in all the time she knew him, “I was not aware that he had any involvement with security, military or intelligence.”