Petraeus’ ‘Friend’ Jill Kelley Hires High-Powered Lawyer & Crisis Manager

Jill Kelley, Paula Broadwell, Gen. David Petraeus, affair, mistress, CIA

Jill Kelley, the longtime friend of former CIA director David Petraeus, is protecting herself with high-powered legal defense, causing some to wonder what her relationship really was with the retired general.

Kelley’s complaints about Petraeus’ mistress Paula Broadwell sparked an FBI investigation that brought Petraeus’ affair to light. She complained to the FBI that Broadwell was sending her nasty, “stay away from my man” messages, and while the FBI was investigating, it found evidence that Broadwell, who wrote Petraeus’ biography, was also having an affair with him.

But Kelley, described as a “Tampa socialite” who has worked as an “unpaid social planner” for MacDill Air Force Base, says she wants to protect her privacy and that of her family and the Petraeus clan, so she’s hired representation that usually only works with A-list clients.

She’s hired DC superlawyer Abbe Lowell to represent her legal interests and crisis PR specialist Jody Smith to manage her reputation. But what she’s not saying is why she’s hired such high-powered talking heads. However, it became clearer later Monday night, when it was revealed the socialite had a secret of her own: She was sending “inappropriate” e-mails to Petraeus’ replacement, Gen. John Allen.

According to a statement she released, she and her doctor husband have been friendly with the Petraeus family for five years, and she insists she and Petraeus have never been intimate, which is likely true, since she is the one that set the FBI traipsing through the e-mail trail.

And keeping an attorney handy in this case is probably a smart idea, since the stories are changing rapidly. But Lowell is the man who represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment hearings and John Edwards during his legal issues. In addition, Judy Smith has represented people with serious image problems, including Monica Lewinsky, Larry Craig, Wesley Snipes, Michael Vick, Kobe Bryant, and the family of Chandra Levy.

That’s a lot of money to spend protecting yourself when you’re the victim, not the accused.