Albrecht Muth’s military background fictionalized, prosecutors say

A framed certificate hanging on the study wall in the Georgetown home of Albrecht Gero Muth, who is accused of killing his wife in August, announced Muth’s appointment as a brigadier general in the Iraqi army.

But in that same home, a receipt from a Maryland print shop was found, and D.C. homicide detectives said Muth ordered the certificate and had it delivered in April.

The revelation was filed in D.C. Superior Court on Friday in response to Muth’s assertion at a September preliminary hearing that his incarceration in the D.C. jail violates his rights as a military officer under the Geneva Conventions. “I’m an officer in a foreign army, and I have rights as an officer,” he told Judge Gerald I. Fisher.

Muth, 47, is charged with second-degree murder in the Aug. 11 death of his wife, Georgetown socialite Viola Drath, 91. The two were married 22 years. Drath’s body was found in the second-floor bathroom of her home in the 3200 block of Q Street NW. Muth called police and said she was killed by a fall, but a medical examiner concluded that she had been strangled and beaten.

The certificate, which purported to be signed by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, names Muth — who says he was born in Germany — a brigadier general in the Iraqi army and praises his “exceptional professionalism, personal initiative, diligence, loyalty and devotion to Iraq.”

Detectives said Muth fabricated the certificate. Muth “in reality purchased from a print shop, had delivered to his home and hung on his wall, the very certificate he now argues proves his military status,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn Kirschner. “Even more remarkable is the fact that he would stand up in court and mislead the judge, the parties and all in attendance, by claiming he is an Iraqi officer.”

Prosecutors said Muth has a long list of fictionalized credentials, including: East German spy, Soviet spy, CIA operative, special agent who lost an eye when shot while protecting the U.S. ambassador to Paraguay, Albanian count, Arab sheikh, and special assistant to Kofi Annan when Annan was U.N. secretary general.

“The sad truth,” Kirschner said in his filing, “is that the defendant is a long-time con man who changes his persona as it suits his purposes.”

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.
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