Jill Kelley and Sister Natalie: The Soap Opera Continues

Jill Kelley has retained lawyer Abbe Lowell and crisis manager Judy Smith, who once represented Monica Lewinsky. Like Paula Broadwell, she is married to a physician, cancer surgeon Scott Kelley. Jill Kelley has a twin sister Natalie Khawam, who recently lost an ugly custody battle. Both Petraeus and Gen. Allen wrote support letters in support of her attempt to overturn the ruling. (You can read them here.)

Kelley, who grew up in Philadelphia, is of Lebanese descent. Her family, Maronite Catholics, immigrated from Jounieh, Lebanon, in the mid-1970s, according to a 1988 article about her family's restaurant, Sahara, in The Philadelphia Inquirer. She has a twin sister, Natalie, the article said.


Natalie is described by the New York Post as "psychologically unstable."

The Judge blasted Natalie, who is a lawyer, and gave sole custody to her husband, Grayson Wolfe, a partner in a DC-based private venture firm.

The generals' letters to the court — written in the past two months — supported a motion to overturn a ruling made nearly a year earlier by a judge who resoundingly denied custody to Khawam, because of serious reservations about her honesty and mental stability, court records show.

....The judge gave Wolfe sole custody of the couple’s son after finding that Khawam, a lawyer, repeatedly lied under oath and filed bogus domestic-violence and child-abuse claims against her husband after their one-year marriage began crumbling in 2009.

The judge overseeing the case cited Khawam with “outrageous conduct,” “bad faith litigation tactics,” and “illogical thinking,” awarding full custody to the father and socking the mom with $350,000 in legal fees in 2011.

There were threatening e-mails in that case as well:

That judge also found that Khawam routinely defied court orders to let the child see his dad and sent harassing e-mails to Wolfe’s friends and business partners that “excoriated Mr. Wolfe for being a horrible father and husband.”

According to the Daily Mail (UK), Natalie Khwam is being sued by her lawyer for $100,000 in legal fees, and has been accused by her former employer, Tampa lawyer Barry Cohen, of omitting assets from a recent bankruptcy petition, including Rolex watches, sable furs and a diamond ring. Cohen is livid because Natalie Khwam filed a suit alleging sexual harassment at his firm.

The NY Post and Washington Post report Jill Kelley told Petraeus about Broadwell's "threatening" e-mails and he told Broadwell to stop sending them.

Gen. Allen denies a romantic involvement with Jill Kelley, who it appears was essentially a party planner. Gen. Petraeus denies being the source of any CIA or once-classified documents found on Paula Broadwell's computers, and the FBI found nothing to contradict that.

Also from the Tampa Bay Times: Jill Kelley and her husband were the subject of a foreclosure action in 2011:

Court records show they owed the bank nearly $2.2 million, including attorney fees. In 2011, a judge ordered the property to be put up for sale.

Summary of the latest developments: A tawdry soap opera having little or nothing to do with national security.

< Gen. John Allen Under Investigation for E-mails with Jill Kelley | Tuesday Afternoon Open Thread >
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  • Display: Sort:
    This whole thing is getting (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Zorba on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:04:20 PM EST
    murkier, not to mention exceptionally tawdry.  I agree that it does not seem to have anything to do with national security.  A "soap opera" is a good description.
    But if I were involved in such a drama (not that I ever would be), I think that I would want someone like Abbe Lowell as my lawyer.

    Well, I should hope not. (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:25:02 PM EST
    But then, judging by your posts, you've never really struck me as the type. We can laugh because it's not happening to us, and quite frankly, when you really think about it, the burgeoning media coverage of this whole Petraeus affair is borderline absurd, as it most always is about such matters.

    My take, given what we seem to know thus far, is that someone on the right desperately tried to manufacture a political scandal out of whole cloth in the final days of the late campaign, only to watch it blow up in their own faces ex post facto.

    I'm sure that for the persons involved, this is the sort of drama that can later lead to nightmares. But really, who's fault is that? Not ours, that's for sure.

    Aloha. ;-D


    Which reminds me -- .... (none / 0) (#30)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:27:32 PM EST
    ... somebody should make some popcorn.

    This whole (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:30:42 PM EST
    thing is just whacked. You are soon going to need a big flow chart showing all the people involved.

    Yep, it is (none / 0) (#3)
    by Zorba on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:31:44 PM EST
    It seems to be getting more and more involved.

    Check out Gawker (none / 0) (#20)
    by kmblue on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 06:24:50 PM EST
    and you will find said chart.  With pictures.

    Sort of makes some Generals look (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 03:37:32 PM EST
     like idiots even if not romantically involved.  Jill Kelley makes wild claims about her nonexistent professional capacity and both Petraeus and Allen instead of reining her in seem to have encouraged her.  They have also placed their names on the line supporting a woman who is an officer of the court while also being a wild liar.  If the soldiers under them had ever allowed their affiliations to get so out of hand and credibility destroying they' d have their asses.

    Spouse very disappointed after reading (5.00 / 4) (#22)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 06:50:18 PM EST
    the letters.  Says it is sometimes so hard to get a General to do something when you really need help as a soldier, but they'll do this for someone they don't even really know.

    Jill Kelley's (none / 0) (#4)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:32:34 PM EST
    brother was on TV and he was saying things like oh, she wouldn't have an affair because she has children and that's not the kind of person she is etc. I'm not saying that she did have an affair but I'm so sick of these people going on TV saying oh, that person wouldn't do this or that because of their "values".

    A lot of people think they are immune (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by shoephone on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:47:55 PM EST
    to having an affair. (I think a lot of people are sincere in that belief, but I also think a lot of people are sincerely deluded about real life.)

    Yep (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 03:54:40 PM EST
    People always think it's not their neighbors or their family members. It's always "somebody else"

    Isn't that what Paula Broadwell's neighbors said? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Angel on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:39:38 PM EST
    They couldn't believe she was having an affair because she was so devoted to her children and husband.  You never really know people.  

    Why do these people feel obligated to (none / 0) (#6)
    by Anne on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:40:41 PM EST
    put themselves in front of a media that will probably just use whatever they say against them, will show only the parts of these statements that fit with whatever "story" the media's telling on any given day, and won't care that what they show is out of context, dishonest or immaterial to anything?

    I know there's this feeling that the families need to set the record straight, but all that ever seems to happen is that the media hand them a shovel and watch them dig themselves into a hole.


    Absolutely (none / 0) (#8)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 03:19:23 PM EST
    and your average person does not know how to handle the media. What he said was in an interview so I don't think it was chopped up what was the point he was making? We're supposed to believe what he says because he is her brother?

    It's all just so gratuitous. (5.00 / 5) (#11)
    by Anne on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 03:47:07 PM EST
    With rare exceptions, family members usually say they (1) had no idea that whatever it was their relative is accused of doing was happening, (2) that their family member just isn't "that kind of person," and (3) the family member in question has their full support.

    Well, duh.  I believe Jill Kelley's brother loves her and will stand by her; I would believe that even if he never went on TV to say it.

    I think what happens is that the tag line we hear of "so-and-so was asked for a statement but declined to comment," is seen as some kind of admission that there's something to hide - and that's what draws them out.  As soon as someone says, "she was devoted to her family," the hounds are released to find contradictory information.

    Hell, last night the local hard-nosed reporter had a story about Jill Kelley's sister, whom the reporter had discovered was millions of dollars in debt, had filed for bankruptcy and was living with Jill and her husband.  Now, you tell me how that information relates to the situation.  Was it offered to somehow impugn Jill Kelley by association by implying there was something untoward behind the sister's debt problems?  It was never explained, never related to the Petraeus story, never connected to Paula Broadwell and the so-called threats.

    I would have much preferred the reporter do a story about how, on the basis of 6 e-mails that were not even really threatening, the FBI dug around in the personal e-mails of at least four people without even a suggestion of any crime being committed.

    Glenn says it better than I can:

    ...it appears that the FBI not only devoted substantial resources, but also engaged in highly invasive surveillance, for no reason other than to do a personal favor for a friend of one of its agents, to find out who was very mildly harassing her by email. The emails Kelley received were, as the Daily Beast reports, quite banal and clearly not an event that warranted an FBI investigation.


    So all based on a handful of rather unremarkable emails sent to a woman fortunate enough to have a friend at the FBI, the FBI traced all of Broadwell's physical locations, learned of all the accounts she uses, ended up reading all of her emails, investigated the identity of her anonymous lover (who turned out to be Petraeus), and then possibly read his emails as well. They dug around in all of this without any evidence of any real crime - at most, they had a case of "cyber-harassment" more benign than what regularly appears in my email inbox and that of countless of other people - and, in large part, without the need for any warrant from a court.

    The irony of someone deeply involved in the surveillance state getting caught in it and by it is almost too delicious.


    Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 03:58:15 PM EST
    I really don't know how the sister's issues are even remotely involved other than apparently Jill got two generals to write letters.

    Yup - Emily Bazelon has some (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by ruffian on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 03:58:31 PM EST
    questions for the FBI too.


    Did the government get a warrant to search Paula Broadwell's email account? Conflicting reports on this one, as Julian Sanchez has noted. The Wall Street Journal says yes but Reuters says no: "The FBI investigation into the emails was fairly straightforward and did not require obtaining court orders to monitor the email accounts of those involved, including the personal email account of Petraeus." What? Yes, the FBI can read the emails Kelley turned over to them without a warrant. But to go snooping further, shouldn't investigators have to get one? This is not a legal nicety. Warrants are the basic constitutional check on the power of law enforcement and prosecutors to search and seize.

    Even Worse... (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:33:35 PM EST
    ...when you consider at this point Kelley is the victim of some minor harassment and done nothing morally wrong or illegal.  

    That may change, but for the media who is suppose to care about facts, it's inexcusable.  They have labeled her a whistle blower and the other woman, both complete non-sense.  They keep reporting her sisters issues with the truth and mental heath like it's an indication to hers.


    Hypothetical: if a scandal broke (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 03:23:02 PM EST
    in your family, would you vol. go on national TV?

    H*ll (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 03:55:39 PM EST

    Kelley up the rhetoric? (none / 0) (#17)
    by CoralGables on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:45:22 PM EST
    TAMPA (FOX 13) - The South Tampa woman connected to the Gen. David Petraeus scandal has called police to her home several times in the last few days, and at least once tried to invoke "diplomatic protection."

    Maybe she can call her FBI friend. (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Angel on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:56:42 PM EST
    I'm seriously thinking the press better (none / 0) (#19)
    by ruffian on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 06:20:54 PM EST
    Just back off these unstable people. No doubt they are all armed.

    I don't think she is (who really knows) (none / 0) (#21)
    by CoralGables on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 06:35:54 PM EST
    but she appears to pass herself off as a Diplomat.

    Soon she'll have a reality show with Bristol and Honey Boo Boo. Little did I know she's already been on a reality show... "Food Fight" on the Food Network.


    Asking for diplomatic protection is hysterical. (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Angel on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 06:51:31 PM EST
    And calling herself a Consul General in the non-emergency call...

    Socialite with a really great imagination and too much time on her hands?  


    Dancing with the Stars...isn't that where (none / 0) (#24)
    by Anne on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:15:22 PM EST
    all the B-list "celebrities" end up eventually?

    Great. (none / 0) (#31)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:31:20 PM EST
    Perhaps Jill Kelley could be paired up with Levi Johnston.

    She appears to be (none / 0) (#32)
    by CoralGables on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:43:42 PM EST
    fighting to make the D list.

    Along with her husband they have four open lawsuits by three banks against them for a total of $4.178,000. I guess they are well on their way to being better known at least by the banks.


    You must mean Natalie - (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Anne on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:53:26 PM EST
    I think she's the one with the financial problems.

    I'm beginning to imagine a DWTS, Petraeus edition.


    Both do (none / 0) (#34)
    by CoralGables on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 10:03:59 PM EST
    the couple to a slightly larger extent.

    yes they both do (none / 0) (#35)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 10:30:19 PM EST
    CBS News:

    The Kelleys and a company called "Kelley Land Holdings," were sued by Central Bank in 2010, which reportedly claimed to be owed nearly $2.2 million. A judge ordered the property in question be put up for sale.

    Tampa Bay Times

    The suit, brought by Central Bank against the Kelleys and Kelly Land Holdings, centered on a three-story office building at 300 E Madison St. in downtown Tampa. Court records show they owed the bank nearly $2.2 million, including attorney fees. In 2011, a judge ordered the property to be put up for sale.

    In the decade since the Kelleys arrived from Pennsylvania, it proved one of several examples of court cases seeking payment of real estate and credit card debts intermingling with catered parties and A-list guests as the couple sought to establish themselves in Tampa.

    Well (none / 0) (#25)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:32:51 PM EST
    after b*thch*ng and moaning about this scandal I have decided it is preferable to the conservative meltdown STILL going on on facebook.

    It appears (none / 0) (#26)
    by CoralGables on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:41:07 PM EST
    Jill Kelley is an "Honorary Consul" of South Korea having once thrown a party for someone from South Korea. No word yet as to whether we have email records between the two.

    Let's talk about what's really important... (none / 0) (#36)
    by unitron on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 11:22:40 PM EST
    ...namely, what do the Kardashians have to do to steal the spotlight back from these people?

    They need to (none / 0) (#37)
    by Zorba on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 12:50:49 AM EST
    all have a baby fathered by Petraeus.