Former First Lady Accuses McGreevey of Sabotage

Dina Matos McGreevey has already accused her estranged husband of libeling her a homophobe.

Now the Garden State first lady-turned-author has claimed that the false portrayal by former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey is costing her financially.

In newly filed court documents, Matos McGreevey "alleges her reputation was harmed in the eyes of community, and that third persons were deterred from associating with her."

This includes, according to the documents, potential readers of her book, "Silent Partner: a Memoir of My Marriage," which was released on May 1 to much fanfare -- including an exclusive kickoff interview with Oprah Winfrey -- but has since lagged in sales.

"[McGreevey's] defamatory allegations -- that [Matos McGreevey] is homophobic and that she was aware of his sexual orientation(s) when the parties married -- negatively affect book sales by deterring purchases by members of the gay community," the court document reads.

Kevin Naff, editor of the Washington Blade, a gay and lesbian news Web site, dismissed Matos McGreevey's legal argument -- and the couple's private lives entirely.

"I think Dina and Jim McGreevey (and their publishers) greatly overestimated the gay community's interest in their marital problems," he wrote in an e-mail to ABC News, describing McGreevey as "an unethical and unsavory character."

Regarding possible lost books sales, he added, "I just don't think that gays generally are so enamored of Jim McGreevey that they would boycott en masse Dina's book."

Tobe Berkovitz, dean of the Boston University College of Communications, said that Matos McGreevey's latest legal plea may just be another way to generate interest around her book.

"When you have this type of battle being waged in the media, it helps to ratchet up interests in what are essentially second-tier tell-alls," Berkovitz said. He added that if her book really polarized one segment of the audience, it would likely appeal to another, undercutting her own legal argument.

Ivan Hoffman, an intellectual property attorney in Los Angeles, said that it would be a serious challenge for Matos McGreevey to put a dollar figure on losses supposedly tied to her estranged husband's accusations.

"What is the measure of damages?" Hoffman asked. "If the book comes out and sells eight copies, can we ever prove that the book would sell a million and a half copies without that allegation?"

Matos McGreevey also argued in court documents that her portrayal as a homophobe has isolated potential donors to a nonprofit foundation she heads that raises money for Newark's Columbus Hospital.

McGreevey's description of Matos McGreevey as homophobic achieved the desired effect because of his "experience in manipulating the media," according to the court document filed in Union County Superior Court, which also seeks unspecified compensation for her financial losses.

The two are entrenched in a very public divorce battle that involves their 5-year-old daughter, Jacqueline. For now, the girl lives with Matos McGreevey and visits her father, who lives with his partner, executive Mark O'Donnell, every weekend and on alternate Wednesdays.

After McGreevey publicly announced his homosexuality with his wife by his side in 2004, he was forced from office, he and his wife separated, and he penned a memoir, "The Confession," in which he claimed his wife might have known he was gay.

In Matos McGreevey's book, she insists that she never knew that her husband was gay. She also has said publicly that he may be bisexual -- citing their seemingly normal love life and his tendency to make comments about attractive women.

McGreevey bases his claim that she is homophobic, according to court documents cited by Matos McGreevey's attorney, on a May 2006 New York Post story that includes an interview with Ricardo Matos, Matos McGreevey's brother.

Matos told the newspaper at the time that his sister was getting over the heartache of her husband's announcement and that the two of them would sometimes make jokes at the expense of effeminate men -- likening them to her now out-of-the-closet husband.

Matos McGreevey's book peaked at No. 8 on The New York Times bestsellers list on May 20, 2007, but has since fallen sharply in sales. The book retailer Web site lists "Silent Partner" as No. 4,649 on its book sales list.