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In 1990, though, Westphall did help Linda locate her father. At the time, Linda was a 21-year-old sophomore psychology major at San Diego State University. One day, McMahan telephoned her. She assumed Westphall had given him the number.
In her deposition, Linda described this telephone call as another emotional one. McMahan told his daughter what he did for a living and said he wanted to meet her. When they met, he also asked her to take a paternity test, saying his lawyers were insisting on it. He got the confirmation with 99.7 percent certainty that he was seeking.
It was then that McMahan took Linda into the family fold. He helped pay her tuition, set up a trust fund for her, and began including her in family holiday celebrations. He added her name to his list of children in his professional biographies. Eight years into their relationship, Linda was about to earn her PhD in psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology in San Diego. That's when McMahan had Linda over to his New York home and asked her to watch the first half hour of Braveheart.
Bruce McMahan with Linda, who is misidentified as his fifth wife, Elena, in a fraternity newsletter.
They stayed in the Sheraton Belgravia for a week. In her April deposition, she described the trip. After their arrival, she testified, a discussion about how Linda could help him with business turned personal as the two sipped wine. He told her he was disappointed in her career choice in psychology.
"He offered me an opportunity for business that would incorporate my interest in brain studies with his interest in psychic phenomena," she testified. They were still jet-lagged from their trip, so McMahan suggested they take a nap. When she woke up, "he was touching my leg and becoming physical with me." Later in the week, the two had sexual intercourse for the first time, she testified.
After the trip, according to e-mails submitted in court documents, they mailed each other vibrators. Referring to one he sent his daughter, McMahan e-mailed her on September 10, 1998: "I unpacked the toys and checked them out. The thing excites me just looking at it. I promise you have never seen anything like it. Interestingly 'it' is actually smaller than I am! But what moves! I should have been so lucky. They are now packed into their own bag and I am going to make sure we have enough AA batteries to last for the duration."
At the same time that Linda and her father swapped sex toys, her relationship with Schutt continued to deepen. McMahan wasn't thrilled: "I know you like him. Even though I am truly jealous, I am hardly in position to interfere or even really want to interfere with that part of your life. Don't lock him out if he is important to you. Kisses everywhere," he wrote in an e-mail dated August 15, 1998.
That winter, Linda and Schutt became engaged. But the sexual relationship with her father didn't stop. She continued to sleep with her father through the end of summer 1999 and "up until" her October wedding to Schutt, she testified. Then, with the ceremony approaching, Linda ended the sex with her dad.
"I was in love with my fiancé... I was deeply disturbed with the relationship with my father."
McMahan, she said, reacted with "anger, withdrawal, paranoia."
He asked her what she wanted, what her "perfect life" would be.
"I told him that I would like to live in Sausalito, California. I would like to have a Saab convertible. I would like to have a dog named Pooh, and a sailboat."
She testified that her father answered that he could give her all of those things and financial security for life. But Schutt, he told her, probably couldn't provide that kind of life.
The argument didn't persuade her. Linda and Schutt married on October 2, 1999, in Sonoma. During the event, McMahan gave the couple a toast.
"He made an attempt to quote Winston Churchill... He told all the guests during his toast at my wedding that, 'This is the beginning of the end.' "
McMahan was no doubt cribbing from Churchill's line from a speech he gave in 1942 at a turning point in WWII: "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
Linda said that McMahan never explained what he meant by it. McMahan moved on, starting a new romance with a Ukrainian woman who eventually became his fifth wife. And he did provide his daughter employment. He named Linda president and CEO of McMahan Center for Human Abilities, a nonprofit foundation McMahan had created to extend the efforts of his primary charity, the National Cristina Foundation, which provides computers to disabled children and is named after another of his daughters, who has cerebral palsy. Linda was being paid $10,000 a month to run the foundation in the spring of 2002 when family members gathered to have dinner in a Sonoma restaurant.