Natalie Khawam and Gloria Allred press conference
Natalie Khawam, Lebanese-born twin sister of Jill Kelley, the Tampa socialite at the centre of David Petraeus scandal, appeared at a press conference alongside celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred.
In an apparent bid to gain leverage for her client in a bitter custody battle with her ex-husband Grayson Wolfe over their 4-year-old son, Gloria Allred portrayed Natalie Khawam’s case as “extremely important to single moms across the nation”.
David Petraeus, who resigned as CIA director after his affair with biographer Paula Broadwell was revealed when Jill Kelley complained to the FBI about harassing emails from her, wrote a letter in support of Khawam’s case.
General John Allen, NATO commander in Afghanistan and under investigation for potentially ‘inappropriate’ emails in a correspondence of up to 30,000 pages, also wrote a letter backing her.
Gloria Allred paid tribute to David Petraues and his wife Holly at a press conference in the Ritz Carlton in Washington.
“Both have known Natalie and her son personally for many years, and have had numerous opportunities to observe them together,” she said.
“They have loved Natalie’s child and emotionally supported her and her son through the toughest time in Natalie and her son’s life. They both spoke up through their court declarations in support of Natalie about what a loving, protective mom she was.”
A tearful Natalie Khawam, 37, declined to answer any questions but spoke of her relationship with her sister.
“My sister Jill and I aren’t just twins, we’re best friends. Literally inseparable,” she said.
“During my darkest time…she and my brother-in-law Dr. Kelley took me in with my son when we needed refuge and protection. Jill is the kindest, most generous person I know.
“We played tennis together. She played net and I served. We also played softball together. She was the catcher and I pitched. We love to cook. I usually bake and she sautés.
“We used to study together. I love math, she loves science and she excels in chemistry. We love to play piano and play chess.
“Jill has lovingly supported me through the years and I plan to love and support her unconditionally.”
Natalie Khawam lost an ugly child custody dispute with ex-husband Grayson Wolfe despite the letters written on her behalf by David Petraeus and General John Allen.
The judge said he had serious concerns and reservations over her mental stability and her grasp on reality and accused her of “outrageous conduct”, “bad faith litigation tactics”, and “illogical thinking” before awarding full custody to the father, who had been unable to see his child for more than a year.
According to the New York Post, Grayson Wolfe, won sole custody of the boy after the judge found out Natalie Khawam, a lawyer, repeatedly lied under oath and filed false domestic-violence and child-abuse claims against her husband.
Natalie Khawam was also accused of defying court orders to allow her estranged husband access to their son and sent emails to his friends and colleagues telling them he was a “horrible father and husband”.
Gloria Allred described her client as “a loving, caring mother” as well as a “highly educated academic scholar and a successful attorney”.
She described Jill Kelley’s relationship with David Petraeus as “social”.
Asked whether Natalie Khawam had visited the White House, Gloria Allred said she had been there “essentially for a tour” but declined to say who had been the host.
Neither Gloria Allred nor Natalie Khawam would speak about John Allen or go into any detail about David Petraues.
Gloria Allred’s clients include former porn star Joslyn James and nightclub promoter Rachel Uchitel, for whom Allred reportedly helped win $10 million from Tiger Woods.
She is renowned as the go-to lawyer for women who find themselves caught up in celebrity scandals and has defended women against stars such as Charlie Sheen, Eddie Murphy, and Rob Lowe.