Petraeus, Allen supported Jill Kelley’s sister in child custody spat

A combination photo shows CIA Director David Petraeus and U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Allen.

Former CIA Director David Petraeus and the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, both recently intervened in a child custody battle on behalf of the twin sister of the Florida woman at the center of a scandal that has engulfed both men, court documents show.

Petraeus and Allen wrote letters in September to the District of Columbia Superior Court in support of the twin sister, Natalie Khawam, as she sought to gain more visitation rights with her son, according to a review of the court file.

The letters deepen the mystery of how two Tampa socialites developed close access to top military officials and raise questions about the specific nature of those relationships.

It is unclear why Petraeus and Allen, two of the U.S. military’s biggest names, felt the need to formally interject in a nasty custody dispute of someone they characterized as a family friend.

The court files also provide a glimpse into the connections Khawam had built with Washington elite, including U.S. Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts.

Defense officials said earlier on Tuesday that Allen is under investigation for alleged inappropriate communication with Khawam’s sister, Jill Kelley. Kelley is a fixture in military circles in Tampa, where she was a volunteer social liaison at MacDill Air Force Base.

Officials said they were combing through thousands of pages of email and other communications between Allen and Kelley.

Allen has denied that the two had a sexual relationship, officials said on condition of anonymity.

It was Kelley’s complaints about harassing emails from the woman with whom Petraeus had an affair, Paula Broadwell, that prompted an FBI investigation that ultimately disclosed Petraeus’ involvement with Broadwell, according to law enforcement officials.

Petraeus resigned from the CIA post on Friday.

‘DEDICATED MOTHER’

Khawam for months has been fighting for greater access to her 4-year-old son with Grayson Wolfe, a former Bush administration official who directed Middle East initiatives and Iraqi reconstruction efforts at the Export-Import Bank.

Wolfe could not be immediately located for comment. His LinkedIn profile identifies him as a founding partner of Akkadian Private Ventures, but when a Reuters reporter went to a Washington address listed for the firm, it was occupied by an unrelated private residence.

Wolfe, whose divorce from Khawam was finalized earlier this year, was awarded sole custody of their son in 2011.

District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Neal Kravitz found that Khawam “has extreme personal deficits in the areas of honesty and integrity.” He cited false domestic violence petitions and a lack of honesty in her dealings with her family and employers.

On June 21 of this year, Kravitz ordered Khawam to pay Wolfe $350,000 in attorneys fees and costs, but Khawam continued to push for more access to her son.

A lawyer for Khawam did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In his September 20 letter to the court, Petraeus said he had known Khawam for three years while serving in Tampa, through the friendship he and his wife, Holly, have with Jill Kelley and her husband, Scott Kelley, a Tampa cancer surgeon.

Petraeus said he had observed Khawam with her son during that time, including when the Petraeuses hosted them for Christmas dinner.

“In each case, we have seen a very loving relationship – a mother working hard to provide her son enjoyable, educational, and developmental experiences,” Petraeus said.

Allen in his September 22 letter said he and his wife, Kathy, came to know Khawam through social functions while stationed at U.S. Central Command in Tampa. “She is a dedicated mother, whose only focus is to provide the necessary support, love and care for her son,” Allen wrote.

LAWMAKER CONTACTS

Khawam not only tapped her military connections in her custody battle but also invoked broader contacts as she sought greater access to her son.

In emails with her ex-husband, Khawam wrote that Senator Kerry asked about the son and whether he would be coming to Martha’s Vineyard in the summer of 2012.

She also wrote that Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island invited the son to a summer clambake in the state, and that the son “would greatly appreciate attending this family clambake.”

Included in the court file is what appears to be a handwritten note from Whitehouse, writing, “I am excited to hear that you, Natalie and (the son) may be coming to the family clambake. That would be terrific!”

The Whitehouse note was addressed to Gerald Harrington.

Harrington served as national vice chairman of finance for Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, according to a biography posted on the website of Harrington’s lobbying firm, Capitol City Group.

A spokeswoman for Kerry said Kerry was introduced to Khawam by Harrington, whom the spokeswoman described as Khawam’s boyfriend.

A spokesman for Whitehouse also said Whitehouse knew Khawam through her relationship with Harrington, whom Whitehouse has known since college. “Ms. Khawam attended the Senator’s clambake fundraiser this summer as Mr. Harrington’s guest, and he was glad to see them there,” the spokesman said.

Harrington did not respond to requests for comment.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

Movies

Shia LaBeouf disorderly conduct case pushed to September

A judge on Thursday adjourned until September the disorderly conduct and harassment case against actor Shia LaBeouf, who was charged with disturbing a Broadway theater…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.