When New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey stepped down from office in 2004 in a gay sex scandal, he became another disgraced politician brought down by his own actions.
Since then, the former Democratic governor, now 55, has tried to step out of the spotlight after a messy divorce from his second wife by swapping politics for volunteer work with jailed women.
Filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of U.S. House of Representatives Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, chronicled McGreevey and his new life in “Fall to Grace” an HBO documentary that premiered on Friday at the Sundance Film Festival.
“I was intrigued by the caricature that I saw in the tabloids, because Jim McGreevey is a tabloid fixture in New York. They’re obsessed with everything he does, and I was intrigued by the way they hunted him, like an animal,” Pelosi told Reuters on Friday.
“They wouldn’t let him move on … everyone writes him off because of some mistake he made before,” she added.
Pelosi, 42, followed McGreevey with a handheld camera as he visited women in jail and counseled them after their release, helping them to rehabilitate their lives.
McGreevey, who was elected New Jersey governor in 2001, said he had “constructed a life” for himself while living as a closeted gay man during his political career. Since his resignation, he said he had found new strength in religion, and attended seminary school for three years.
“My life is to highlight the need for more compassion and for a different way in which we treat incarceration of women. Being behind the bars with these women is a great blessing, and I can be a voice for them,” McGreevey said on Friday.