The frenzy reached a pinnacle (or nadir) Tuesday as Los Angeles celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred held a news conference at the Ritz-Carlton for Natalie Khawam, Jill Kelley’s twin sister.
For those who have not been keeping up with the soap-operatic dimensions of the Petraeus resignation, Khawam’s sister is the woman who received the allegedly threatening e-mails from Paula Broadwell, who wrote a biography of Petraeus and had an affair with him. Kelley went to the FBI after receiving the e-mails. The bureau’s investigation uncovered the affair between Petraeus and Broadwell, a revelation that eventually led to the general’s resignation as CIA director. And Kelley and Khawam are family friends of Petraeus and his wife, Holly.
Khawam is only tangentially connected to the story, but her presser drew a couple of dozen reporters, cameramen and photographers. With Allred at her side, Khawam tearfully read a prepared statement. “I look forward to the day when I am able to answer everyone’s questions and explain what really happened in this matter,” she concluded before refusing to take a single question.
It was a classic Washington scandal news conference — all show and little news. Including Allred, there are a half-dozen lawyers and image-makers involved in this story. Here’s the cast of characters holding the puppet strings for Petraeus, Broadwell, Kelley and the others:
Robert Barnett for Petraeus
Robert Barnett , a lawyer with Williams & Connolly, is representing Petraeus as he exits government. Barnett, whose hourly rate is reportedly $975, is a well-known signifier of Washington power and go-to guy for politicians writing books or making career moves. He has negotiated book deals for everyone from President Obama to Republican strategist Karl Rove to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. As The Washington Post’s David Montgomery reported, Barnett also has assisted ex-Cabinet members, former senators looking for jobs and a long list of top officials moving into the private or nonprofit worlds: James A. Baker III, Dan Quayle, Lawrence H. Summers, Donna E. Shalala, Madeleine K. Albright, Trent Lott, John D. Ashcroft, Andrew H. Card Jr., etc. Look for Barnett’s guiding hand in Petraeus’s next moves.
Dee Dee Myers for Broadwell
Dee Dee Myers, a managing director of the communications firm Glover Park Group, will serve as Broadwell’s spokeswoman. Myers is the former press secretary for President Bill Clinton and the first woman to serve in that position. She was the model for the famous press secretary character C.J. Cregg in the television hit “The West Wing.” You can’t get more Washington than that. And Myers is the author of the bestselling book “Why Women Should Rule the World.” This could be a perfect fit for Broadwell, a West Point graduate who is said to be an ambitious woman with hopes of reviving her career in the wake of the extramarital affair.