When Jill Kelley's twin sister Natalie Khawam recently needed character references to appeal the loss of custody of her four-year-old son, she turned to two prominent figures now under investigation: then-CIA director David Petraeus and the lead U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen.
Letters filed in the court case had the signatures of the two men. They were written in late September, after Kelley had already complained to the FBI that somebody was sending her threatening emails, and about the time the FBI was conducting its first interview with Petraeus' alleged mistress: Paula Broadwell.
According to court documents, Khawam submitted both the Petraeus and Allen letters in her appeal of the scathing decision that awarded sole custody of Khawam's son to her ex-husband.
Among the reasons given by the District of Columbia Family Court judge for denying Khawam custody of her son: "profound concerns about Ms. Khawam's poor logical thinking and her extreme distortions" and "severe psychological deficits."
Court documents state that Khawam "was terminated from at least four consecutive positions of employment within the first five years following her graduation from law school, 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."
For her part, Khawam argued that she had suffered domestic violence and other offenses. The court said the allegations were "false and unsubstantiated."
In the letters, bearing four star general flag emblems, the two generals vouch for Khawam's loving relationship with her son.
Petraeus' letter, dated September 20, states that he and his wife have known Khawam for "approximately three years, getting to know her while serving in Tampa, Florida and through our friendship with Dr. and Mrs. Scott Kelley." He continued, "it is unfortunate, in my view, that her interaction with her son has been so limited by the custody settlement."
Allen's letter, dated September 22, states "It is tough enough for (the child) to live his life struggling to understand the separation of his parents. We should not penalize him by limiting his expectations to experience the love, mentorship, and guidance of his mother... I humbly request your reconsideration of the existing mandated custody settlement."
Court records indicate both Khawam and her sister Kelley have suffered financial difficulties.
Khawam filed for bankruptcy on April 14 citing liabilities of $3.6 million including $800,000 owed to her sister, $600,000 to a Tampa businessman, and $53,000 to the IRS. In another court case, Khawam is suing a former employer for alleged sexual harassment by a colleague and other charges. The employer denied all charges and accused Khawam of perjury and bankruptcy fraud.
The Kelleys and a company called "Kelley Land Holdings," were sued by Central Bank in 2010, which reportedly claimed to be owed nearly $2.2 million. A judge ordered the property in question be put up for sale.