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Petraeus retains Robert Barnett, lawyer to political elite

Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency General David Petraeus attends the Allen & Co Media Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho July
Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency General David Petraeus attends the Allen & Co Media Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho July

By Jessica Dye

(Reuters) - Former CIA Director General David Petraeus has hired a top Washington lawyer to help him navigate the fallout from a career-ending affair, Reuters has confirmed.

The lawyer, Robert Barnett of Williams & Connolly, is known for negotiating book deals for the political elite, from President Barack Obama to one-time vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Barnett will help Petraeus as he exits government, Reuters confirmed. The news was first reported by Politico, which said that no book is planned.

The Central Intelligence Agency, the Justice Department and Congress are investigating Petraeus' conduct over the extra-marital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.

The former four-star general has said his resignation was solely because of the affair and that he did not give classified information to Broadwell.

Barnett has been a partner at Williams & Connolly in Washington for 34 years, according to a biography of him posted on the firm's website. In that time, he has built an unconventional practice representing best-selling authors, political leaders, television news correspondents and other high-profile clients.

In addition to Obama and Palin, other authors he has represented include novelist Mary Higgins Clark and entertainer Barbra Streisand.

He has also helped former government officials from across the political spectrum navigate their return to private life, including former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, and former members of Congress.

He joined Williams & Connolly in 1975 and became a partner in 1978.

(Reporting by Jessica Dye in New York; Editing by Jackie Frank)

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