Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jill Kelley's twin sister sidesteps questions about Petraeus

WASHINGTON — Weeping and standing with her celebrity lawyer, Natalie Khawam spoke publicly Tuesday for the first time since the scandal involving her sister, Jill Kelley, broke.

But Khawam offered no clarity on the situation that has led to the fall of CIA Director David Petraeus, focused questions on the top American commander in Afghanistan, opened a debate about the FBI's ability to read personal emails and put a national spotlight on Tampa's social scene.

"I look forward to the day when I am able to answer everyone's questions and explain what really happened in this matter," Khawam, 37, said at a news conference at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Washington.

Lawyer Gloria Allred arranged the meeting to counter what she said were inaccurate portrayals of Khawam in the news media and to press arguments in a custody case involving Khawam's son.

"Natalie is just one of the mothers in this country who has been forced to suffer because of family court decisions," Allred said, faulting a judge for not taking into account allegations of alleged domestic abuse by Khawam's ex-husband.

A judge in Washington earlier this year gave Khawam's ex-husband sole custody of the 4-year-old, saying he had "profound concerns about Ms. Khawam's poor logical thinking and her extreme distortions" and "severe psychological deficits."

In appealing the decision in September, Khawam presented to the court letters of support from Petraeus and Gen. John R. Allen, the top-ranking U.S. general serving in Afghanistan.

Allred said Tuesday that Petraeus and his wife, Holly, filed affidavits in the case out of friendship they developed and by observing her care of the boy.

"Natalie feels that they stood up for the truth as they knew it in her custody case, and she is deeply appreciative that the Petraeus family has continued to love and support her and her son during the hardest times," Allred said.

Allred's statement did not mention Allen, and when asked about his relationship with Khawam, she replied, "I have no comment on Gen. Allen." Of Petraeus, she said the relationship was "social."

Allred also refused to answer questions about emails that were exchanged between the figures in the scandal, saying they could be part of an investigation.

Kelley had informed an FBI agent she knew in Tampa that she had gotten anonymous threatening emails. That led to an investigation uncovering the extramarital affair between Petraeus and biographer Paula Broadwell. Allen was drawn in when it was discovered he and Kelley emailed extensively. Allen has said he did not act inappropriately.

After reading from a prepared statement, Allred let Khawam give a brief statement. She stepped to the microphone and waited 25 seconds before speaking, weeping as she did.

"My sister Jill and I aren't just twins, we're best friends," she said, her faint voice nearly muffled by the clicking of cameras. "During my darkest time, Jill held the light for me. She and my brother-in-law, Dr. (Scott) Kelley, took me in with my son when we needed refuge and protection."

Khawam and the boy moved to her sister's house in Tampa in 2009, without her husband's permission, leading to the custody battle.

Allred is concerned the scandal has hurt Khawam's struggle to get custody of the boy, saying there have been statements in the media that have been taken out of context.

"Of course she is hurt, as anyone would be hurt, when there are mischaracterizations about either what she has done, what she has said or what is going on in her life," Allred said. "This is in part an opportunity for us to try to set the record straight. Obviously, there is so much more than could be said, and at some future time, hopefully, Natalie will be able to address those issues. Unfortunately, that time is not today."

Natalie Khawam, twin sister of Jill Kelley, spoke at a news conference in Washington.

Associated Press

Natalie Khawam, twin sister of Jill Kelley, spoke at a news conference in Washington.

Jill Kelley's twin sister sidesteps questions about Petraeus 11/20/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 10:11am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bicyclist in critical condition after colliding with vehicle in St. Petersburg

    Accidents

    ST. PETERSBURG — A bicyclist is in critical condition after he ran a red light and was struck by a car on Monday night, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department.

  2. Myanmar leader sidesteps atrocity allegations in first address on Rohingya crisis (w/video)

    World

    YANGON, Myanmar - In her first major speech Tuesday on the worsening Rohingya crisis, Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, sidestepped allegations of atrocities committed against the stateless Muslim minority and cast the conflict as just one of many problems ailing the country.

    A Rohingya Muslim, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, carries his belongings as he arrives at Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. With a mass exodus of Rohingya Muslims sparking accusations of ethnic cleansing from the United Nations and others, Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday said her country does not fear international scrutiny and invited diplomats to see some areas for themselves. [Associated Press]
  3. Florida education news: Free lunch, school routines, spending cuts and more

    Blogs

    FREE LUNCH: Hurricane Irma caused many families to go without income for a week. Many also lost power, and along with it the food in their refrigerators and freezers. Making matters worse, replacing it isn't so easy, as grocery stores have limited supplies. Hoping to ease the burden, the state has asked for …

  4. Forecast: Sunny, dry conditions prevail throughout Tampa Bay

    Weather

    While many are closely monitoring Hurricane Maria out in the Caribbean, Tampa Bay residents can expect mostly pleasant, dry weather throughout much of the week.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  5. Toys 'R' Us files for bankruptcy but keeps stores open (w/video)

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Toys 'R' Us, the big box toy retailer struggling with $5 billion in debt and intense online competition, has filed for bankruptcy protection ahead of the key holiday shopping season — and says its stores will remain open for business as usual.

    Shoppers shop in a Toys R Us store on Black Friday in Miami in 2016. Toys R Us, the pioneering big box toy retailer, announced late Monday, Sept. 18, 2017 it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection while continuing with normal business operations. [Associated Press]