Jill Kelley, the Tampa socialite embroiled in the scandal that cost CIA Director David Petraeus his job, fought back Tuesday after more than two weeks of silence as her attorneys released emails, telephone recordings and other material that they say show she never tried to exploit her friendship with Petraeus.
Jill Kelley, through her attorneys, went on the attack against a New York businessman who accused her of incompetence in her work trying to set up a deal he was negotiating with South Korean companies; an attorney who accused her of name-dropping and of being a social climber; and the FBI agent who first leaked her name in connection with the Petraeus scandal.
Jill Kelley, 37, became the focus of national media attention earlier this month after it was revealed that she was the recipient of anonymous emails from Paula Broadwell, David Petraeus’ biographer and mistress.
Paula Broadwell allegedly told Jill Kelley she should stay away from the former general and General John Allen, who had replaced David Petraeus as leader of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
David Petraeus and John Allen had become friends with Jill Kelley and her husband, Scott Kelley, a noted cancer surgeon, when the generals served at U.S. Central Command, which is headquartered at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base. Jill Kelley became an unofficial social ambassador for the base, hosting numerous parties for the officers.
The scandal this week cost Jill Kelley her appointment as an honorary consul for the South Korean government, which she had gotten because of her friendship with David Petraeus. The Koreans said she had misused the title in her personal business dealings.
Jill Kelley’s attorneys sent a cease-and-desist letter to New York businessman Adam Victor; a complaint to the Florida bar against Tampa attorney Barry Cohen, and a letter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office demanding that it investigate to find out who in the FBI leaked her name to the news media. Representatives of attorney Abbe Lowell emailed copies of the letters to The Associated Press.
In one of the letters, Abbe Lowell asks W. Stephen Muldrow, the assistant U.S. Attorney in Tampa, why Jill and Scott Kelley’s names were released in the course of the FBI’s investigation of David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell. Abbe Lowell said federal privacy laws could be applicable to the couple’s information.
“As you know, there are several rules and laws that seek to protect United States citizens against such leaks,” Abbe Lowell wrote.
He also wanted to know whether the U.S. Attorney’s Office was investigating the source of the leaks.
“You no doubt have seen the tremendous attention that the Kelleys have received in the media,” wrote Abbe Lowell.
“All they did to receive this attention was to let law enforcement know that they had been the subjects of inappropriate and potentially threatening behavior by someone else.”
Another letter spoke of a business deal that Jill Kelley tried to broker with South Korea.
Jill Kelley met Adam Victor in late August at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, where they discussed having Kelley represent Victor’s company on a coal-gasification deal being negotiated with South Korean companies.
On August 30, according to the documents provided by Abbe Lowell’s office, Adam Victor sent Jill Kelley an email saying his company was seeking bids from four major Korean firms – Samsung, Hyundai, GS and GK – and that he expected the bidding to potentially reach $3 billion.
Jill Kelley reportedly requested $80 million for helping with the deal.
There are several back-and-forth emails through mid-September as Adam Victor and Jill Kelley tried to negotiate a fee for her work, with Kelley saying she was seeking 2% of the deal and Victor trying to clarify what she meant.
There were no other emails until Adam Victor sent one November 9, when Jill Kelley’s name surfaced in the Petraeus scandal. He wrote two more times after that before she responded.
When she finally did, he sent back another email in which he remarked: “When I heard about Petraeus, I thought of you.”
In a follow-up email, he asked if she was still in a position to help with Korea. She didn’t respond.
In a November 14 interview with the AP, Adam Victor said it had become clear that Jill Kelley was not a skilled negotiator and that he had wasted his time dealing with her.
In a letter released Tuesday and dated November 21, Abbe Lowell accused Adam Victor of seeking his “15 minutes of fame” by talking to the news media about his client.
Abbe Lowell said Adam Victor had defamed Jill Kelley with his clients and misstated her desire for 2% of the profits by saying she wanted 2% of the entire deal. Abbe Lowell also accused Adam Victor of unspecified inappropriate behavior toward Jill Kelley.
“If you want to continue seeking publicity for yourself, that is one thing,” Abbe Lowell wrote to Adam Victor.
“However, if you do that by maligning a person, that is something else.”
He then accused Adam Victor of casting Jill Kelley in a false light and suggested his attorney contact Abbe Lowell to discuss the matter.
Adam Victor told the AP late Tuesday that he never accused Jill Kelley of wrongdoing, only that she was naive and not an experienced negotiator. He also said his female assistant was present every time he met with Jill Kelley.