* Lewinsky scandal advisers counsel women in Petraeus uproar
* Congress reluctant to trigger public extravaganza
By Mark Hosenball
WASHINGTON, Nov 14 It's a case of deja vu in
D.C.: some of the same high-profile, high-priced handlers who
played supporting roles in the scandal over President Bill
Clinton's affair with intern Monica Lewinsky have re-emerged in
the sex scandal that has toppled one U.S. national security
chief and threatens another.
It is unclear what will be the roles of the expensive legal
and crisis-management talent drawn into the uproar over the
relationships between former CIA director David Petraeus and
Marine General John Allen and two female acquaintances. Neither
Republicans nor Democrats in Congress appear to have an
appetite for another year-long Monica-style media spectacle.
The latest scandal began with an FBI investigation into
cyber-harassment, and indications so far are that ultimately the
inquiry will produce no criminal charges.
Nonetheless, both women at the center of attention -
Petraeus biographer and former mistress Paula Broadwell and
Tampa socialite Jill Kelley, the woman to whom Broadwell is
alleged to have sent suspected harassing emails - have turned
for advice to veteran Washington lawyers and spin doctors with
connections to the Lewinsky brouhaha.
On Monday, a source close to the Kelley family said that two
Washington-based players in the Lewinsky scandal, trial lawyer
Abbe Lowell and public relations adviser Judy Smith, were
working for Kelley.
A day later, a Washington law firm which represented
Lewinsky herself confirmed that one of its partners, Robert F.
Muse, was representing Broadwell. The three advisors either were
unavailable for comment or declined to comment.
It is not known whether Petraeus or Allen, who is the top
U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, have retained attorneys.
A complaint by Kelley to the FBI about the harassing emails
sparked an investigation that implicated Petraeus in a
career-ending affair with Broadwell.
It also embroiled Kelley herself in the uproar over her
still-murky relationship with Allen.
Kelley's lawyer, Lowell, who an insider said she had known
for years, served as pro-Clinton Democratic Party chief counsel
on a House impeachment inquiry. Recently he won a partial
acquittal and partial mistrial for John Edwards, a former
Democratic U.S. senator and vice presidential candidate who had
been indicted for misusing undeclared campaign funds to support
During the Clinton sex scandal, Smith, a one-time press aide
to President George H.W. Bush, served as Lewinsky's spokeswoman.
Smith also represented NFL quarterback Michael Vick, who was
charged and convicted in a dogfighting cruelty case.
Smith also is a model for the main character in the ABC-TV
drama "Scandal," a prime-time series in which ace spin-doctor
Olivia Pope, along with a team of spies and ex-convicts, not
only manages to sort out or cover up sex and spy scandals but
also carries on a secret affair with a fictional U.S. president.
Muse's senior partner, Jacob Stein, and another prominent
criminal lawyer from a different firm, Plato Cacheris,
represented Lewinsky personally in a criminal investigation of
Clinton by special prosecutor Kenneth Starr and a congressional
inquiry which led to Clinton's impeachment by the House of
Representatives but subsequent acquittal by the Senate. Muse
himself did not represent Lewinsky, according to Cacheris.
Starr and a substantial special prosecution team pursued
Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal. Starr turned his evidence
over to the Republican-controlled House, which in a nationally
televised broadcast impeached Clinton for high crimes and
But Republicans could not muster the two-thirds majority in
the Senate needed to remove Clinton from office. Republicans
later were punished at the polls for what many of them conceded
was a perceived overzealousness in pursuing Clinton.
CONGRESS WARY OF SPECTACLE
Lewinsky's lawyers were critical in helping her negotiate a
legal thicket that included dealing with Starr's criminal
investigators and the impeachment inquiry launched by Congress;
she testified in both investigations. Lewinsky was also besieged
for months by the media; eventually her team arranged decorous
interviews with U.S. and British television networks.
Mindful of how the Lewinsky scandal played out, officials
familiar with the views of both senior Democrats and Republicans
in Congress say that congressional leaders are keen to avoid
turning the scandal into a public extravaganza, even though
there remain many unanswered questions.
If there are no public congressional hearings or a criminal
prosecution, it is unclear what Broadwell's and Kelley's legal
and public relations teams would do, apart from trying to manage
news coverage and the hordes of paparazzi and TV cameramen now
outside their clients' homes.
Lewinsky's lawyer, Cacheris, told Reuters that from what he
could see, at this point Broadwell and Kelley do not know if
there will be any charges against them. "These people are
getting lawyers to ensure there is no criminal case," he added.
But Eric Dezenhall, a Washington crisis management expert,
said some clients did not understand that there was a limit to
how much even the most skilled lawyer and public relations
specialist could do.
"You have to be very selective in the cases you take because
you're going to end up with some very disgruntled clients,"