I have no comment. Hope you will understand.
— Robert Barnett, longtime Williams & Connolly partner and D.C. power broker, declining to comment to the New York Times about his representation of General David Petraeus, the former CIA Director who stepped down amid a sex scandal. Our jokey headline notwithstanding, “no comment” was probably the best comment here.
(Additional tidbits about who is representing whom in this messy affair, after the jump.)
There’s comprehensive coverage in the New York Times:
The major players [in the Petraeus scandal] have hired high-profile, high-priced representatives to manage the fallout, watch for legal trouble, police the news media and massage damaged reputations.
Actually, massages — administered after sweaty, breathless races between Paula Broadwell and David Petraeus, no doubt — are probably how we got into this whole mess in the first place. But we digress.
Mr. Petraeus’s biographer and lover, Paula Broadwell, who has said that Republican political donors encouraged her before the scandal to run for the Senate, has crossed party lines to hire Dee Dee Myers, the former Clinton White House press secretary and television pundit. Ms. Myers said her firm, the Glover Park Group, has four people at work just tracking and responding to media requests.
Jill Kelley, the Tampa, Fla., hostess whose complaint to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about anonymous e-mails touched off the conflagration, is represented by [Chadbourne & Parke partner] Abbe D. Lowell, one of Washington’s top white-collar defense lawyers, who this year successfully defended John Edwards, accused of illegally using campaign funds to cover up his extramarital misadventures. Mr. Lowell, an acquaintance of Ms. Kelley’s from the Washington social scene, immediately brought in Judy Smith, an old hand at scandals in the capital, who promotes herself on the Web as “America’s No. 1 Crisis Management Expert.”
Judy Smith, by the way, was featured over the weekend in a Sunday Styles profile in the Times. She’s a graduate of American University’s Washington College of Law and a former federal prosecutor in D.C.
Even a peripheral character has retained a spokeswoman. Natalie Khawam — Ms. Kelley’s twin sister, whose main connection to the scandal is the reference letter Mr. Petraeus wrote for her in a messy child custody case — hired the celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred. Ms. Allred held a news conference at Washington’s Ritz-Carlton on Tuesday to “correct misconceptions” about her client.
As we quipped in Non-Sequiturs yesterday, “Does every bra made in America have Gloria Allred’s phone number sewn into it?”
In her (rather bizarre) press conference, Allred warned the media, “I would urge everyone to be cautious about engaging in stereotypes and language which may turn out to be not accurate in the end. This is where journalistic integrity and skills are at stake.” But I’m not sure Woodward and Bernstein are needed to discover that Allred’s client, Natalie Khawam, is unstable, broke, and a lawyer.
Big scandals spell big business for big lawyers. Happy Thanksgiving, counselors.
P.S. Pat yourself on the back if you caught the Williams & Connolly inside joke in the headline.
Second Act of a Scandal: Cue the Superlawyers and the Spinmasters [New York Times]
Petraeus Enlists Prominent Washington Attorney [Blog of Legal Times via Morning Docket]