The Lead with Jake Tapper

Court grants Obama administration extension to respond to Jill Kelley lawsuit

By CNN chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper

An update now on a story "CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper" first reported earlier this month regarding the sex scandal that brought down former CIA director David Petraeus.

Read: Jill Kelley suing government over Petraeus sex scandal

A U.S. District Court has granted the Obama administration a 20-day extension to respond to a lawsuit brought by Jill and Scott Kelley for leaks that, they allege, damaged their reputations, though they were the original victims in the whole mess.

The bizarre story began when someone now suspected to be Petreaus's biographer – and a woman with whom Petraeus had had an affair, Paula Broadwell – sent e-mails to Petraeus, four-star Marine General John Allen, and Tampa Florida doctor Scott Kelley. The e-mails disparaged Kelley's wife Jill, whom Petraeus and Allen knew socially in Florida.

The Kelleys went to the FBI. But according to their lawsuit against the Obama administration, instead of being treated like victims, FBI officials accused Jill Kelley of having inappropriate relationships. Kelley denies those accusations. After news of the Petraeus-Broadwell affair broke following the CIA director's resignation, various anonymous law enforcement and government officials dragged the Kelleys' names through the mud, they claim.

The Obama administration originally had until September 4 to respond to this lawsuit, but on Thursday the U.S. District Court extended that to September 24.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder the Kelleys’ attorney, Alan Charles Raul wrote, "Government officials investigating a high level sex scandal engaged in willful and intentional violations of confidentiality and privacy requirements – with the effect (and arguable intention) to divert public focus and diffuse political pressure."

The Kelleys' attorney calls the conduct of government officials involved in the case indefensible, and says the Justice Department should investigate them with the same vigor it has recently applied to the prosecution of leakers.

"Justice has aggressively moved to root out and penalize wrongful government leaks," Raul wrote. "If you apply that same ideal of confidentiality to the leaks about the Kelleys, I am confident you would agree that fairness demands equal respect for Mrs. Kelley and her husband."

Raul's letter calls for a review of officials' conduct, stating, "Mrs. Kelley was subjected to cavalier, sexist treatment that violates the government's own procedures and regulations regarding the treatment of victims."

The couple is asking for acknowledgement of maltreatment and compensation.

The Obama administration declined to comment, given the pending litigation.