The twin sister of the Tampa woman linked to Gen. David Petraeus' resignation as director of the CIA is being sued in Montgomery County Circuit Court in Maryland for about $100,000 in unpaid legal fees.
Natalie Khawam, sister of Jill Kelley, accrued the fees during a messy divorce and custody battle in Washington's Superior Court from 2009 through November 2011. Ten months after Khawam lost custody of her son, both Petraeus and his former deputy, Gen. John R. Allen, wrote letters supporting Khawam's appeal of the custody terms, calling her a dedicated mother and making special note of her maturity and integrity.
"We have seen a very loving relationship — a mother working hard to provide her son enjoyable, educational and developmental experiences," Petraeus wrote in September. "In view of this, it is unfortunate, in my view, that her interaction with her son has been so limited by the custody settlement."
The letters from Petraeus and Allen contrast with the judge's order in November 2011 giving full custody to the boy's father.
Khawam "is a psychologically unstable person whose unsteady moral and ethical compass and apparent lack of awareness of her own shortcomings make it impossible for her successfully to navigate her surroundings in a consistent and sustainable way," wrote Associate Judge Neal E. Kravitz in his order after a 19-day custody hearing.
In his order, Kravitz also found that Khawam "has extreme personal deficits in the areas of honesty and integrity" and has a "willingness to say anything, even under oath, to advance her own personal interests at the expense of others."
David Felsen, the attorney representing Khawam's former attorneys in the Montgomery County case over legal fees, said Khawam tried to stall the case at every turn.
Gene Policastri, the attorney representing Khawam in the Montgomery County case, could not discuss the case without permission from his client.
Khawam, who lives with Kelley in Tampa, is involved in other lawsuits in Florida. In July, she sued her former employer, Barry Cohen, a prominent Tampa lawyer, and other defendants on six counts, including sexual harassment and breach of contract claims.
Cohen fought back, asking the court to dismiss her complaint as a sham and to fine Khawam at least $500,000 for a bad-faith filing. Cohen argued Khawam's complaint contained "lie after unabashed lie."