The Justice Department has asked for 30 more days to respond to a breach of privacy lawsuit brought against the government by Florida socialite Jill Kelley, whose complaints about harassing emails last year led to the exposure of former CIA Director David H. Petraeus’ extramarital affair with his biographer.
Justice Department lawyers requested their deadline be extended to Sept. 4 to respond to Ms. Kelley’s 65-page complaint against the U.S. government, USA Today reported Wednesday.
The lawsuit alleges that the government violated her family’s privacy by way of leaks from federal law enforcement officials that revealed confidential details from personal emails accessed during the investigation.
“We are pleased that the federal government appears to be taking this case seriously, and is taking extra time to conduct its internal inquiry in response to this lawsuit,” Ms. Kelley’s lawyer, Alan Raul, said in a statement to USA Today.
Mr. Raul was on vacation and did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation and comment.
Ms. Kelley was a volunteer social liaison to the headquarters of U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, and hosted parties for military officials at her home. Regular guests included Mr. Petraeus when he headed the command and Marine Gen. John R. Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.
Mr. Petraeus’ affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, was exposed after Ms. Kelley complained to the FBI about anonymous emails she had received that warned her to stay away from Mr. Petraeus. An FBI investigation revealed that Ms. Broadwell had sent the emails.
Gen. Allen was mentioned in emails, and he ended up being investigated by the Pentagon inspector general.
Gen. Allen and Ms. Kelley exchanged 3,000 emails from July 2010 to July 2012, USA Today reported, citing Rep. Jackie Speier, California Democrat and member of the House Committee on Armed Services.
The inspector general cleared Gen. Allen of any “inappropriate behavior.”
Ms. Kelley and her husband, Scott, are asking in their lawsuit for an apology and unspecified damages for what they allege were willful leaks by federal officials.