ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Florida Rep. Alan Grayson will have to wait to find out whether he gets an annulment based on his bigamy claim against his wife.
After hearing from one witness Monday, Circuit Judge Bob LeBlanc continued the proceedings between Grayson and his wife, citing a need for more time for attorneys to present evidence. Monday's hearing lasted three hours. LeBlanc expects completion of testimony to take one day. He didn't schedule a date.
Monday's testimony was winding, and at times contentious between attorneys who sparred over the circumstances of the first marriage Grayson's wife.
Grayson's attorneys introduced documents but questioned only one witness in support of their charge that Lolita Grayson was still married when she and the congressman wed in 1990.
The witness was Charles Lincoln, a private investigator who established through public records that the Robert A. Carson who signed a marriage contract in the Philippines in 1980 was the same one who filed for divorce from Lolita Grayson in Florida in 1993.
Her attorney, Mark Longwell, pointed out that only ages, but no date of birth, Social Security number or identifying characteristics —such as height and weight — appeared on the 1980 marriage certificate. But Lincoln said by tracking public records accumulated by both she and Carson since then show all the documents referred to the same people.
"I have absolutely no doubt," Lincoln said.
Longwell said afterward that more than $30 million in assets listed in congressional filings by Grayson were all built during the 25-year marriage. He called that, and not the bigamy claim, the central issue.
"Whatever comes out this hearing, there's really an inherent shame to this," Longwell said. "That Mr. Alan Grayson would choose to protect his assets and assert to erase a 25-year marriage and (hurt) his five children."
Mark NeJame, who is representing the congressman, said the case is textbook bigamy.
"She never told him she was still married. She just simply told him she was divorced," NeJame said. "So he had a right to believe that, as any spouse would believe that of another person. ...The law is abundantly clear."
Besides the bigamy allegation, the lead-up to Monday's trial included accusations by Lolita Grayson of battery by her estranged husband. Lolita Grayson also said the congressman was failing his obligations to maintain their Orlando house and support their children. A leaky breast implant delayed the trial, and Lolita Grayson had a revolving door of attorneys.
During a pretrial hearing last week, when attorneys were arguing over who had access to the couple's financial documents, LeBlanc likened the scenario to the well-known Netflix political drama "House of Cards."
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