Family Law

Attorney Gloria Allred Suits Up for Lawyer in Media Firestorm, Thanks Petraeus Family for Support


Gloria Allred. Joe Seer

The scandal over the resignation of former CIA director David Petraeus has created a steady stream of work for well-known attorneys, most recently Gloria Allred.

In a news conference Tuesday in Washington, D.C., Allred announced that she is representing Natalie Khawam—who she called a “victim of justice” unfairly portrayed by the media—in an effort to gain full custody of her son. Allred also thanked the Petraeus family for its support of Khawam during an earlier custody battle with her ex-husband, WTSP reports.

Khawam, who is herself a lawyer, is the twin sister of Jill Kelley, a Tampa woman who served as a volunteer social coordinator for members of the military, including Gen. John Allen at a time when he was lead U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

After receiving threatening emails eventually determined by investigators to come from Paula Broadwell, Kelley complained to the FBI. The resultant probe, as multiple news accounts have detailed, revealed an affair between Petraeus and Broadwell, the co-author of a recent biography of the retired four-star U.S. Army general. That led to the resignation of Petraeus from his job as CIA director earlier this month.

As previously detailed in the ABA Journal, the media firestorm over the Petraeus scandal cast a spotlight on Khawam, who had been the subject of a blistering opinion by a judge in a child-custody case in the District of Columbia. Both Petraeus and Allen wrote letters to the court in her support.

Others linked to the scandal who have previously lawyered up include Kelley, who is represented by Abbe Lowell, Broadwell, who retained Robert F. Muse, and Petraeus himself. He hired Robert Barnett, who is known for representing authors, but reportedly isn’t planning to write a book.

No one involved has been criminally charged or sued civilly concerning the email probe. However, investigations at last report were under way to determine whether Broadwell, who until recently had a security clearance as a military reserve officer, had improperly obtained any classified documents; whether Allen had done anything wrong by sending thousands of emails to Kelley; and, within the CIA, to determine if Petraeus had misused any agency resources concerning his affair with Broadwell.

Related coverage:

Associated Press: “In unusual CIA case, FBI detoured from usual path”

USA Today: “Jill Kelley viewed Broadwell e-mails as ‘death threats’”

Tampa Bay Times: “Jill Kelley’s twin sister speaks publicly for first time, says little”

Washington Post: “FBI’s digital digging: How deep can it go?”

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