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Paula Broadwell won't face cyberstalking charges in Petraeus scandal

ISAF via Reuters file

Gen. David Petraeus shakes hands with author Paula Broadwell in this International Security Assistance Force handout photo originally posted on July 13, 2011.

The federal government has formally notified Paula Broadwell's lawyers that she will not be charged with cyberstalking in connection with the sex scandal that led to the resignation of David Petraeus as CIA director.


"The United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida has decided not to pursue a federal case regarding the alleged acts of 'cyber-stalking' involving Paula Broadwell," a spokesman for the office said Tuesday in a written statement.

Petraeus, a highly decorated four-star general, resigned his CIA post on Nov. 9 after acknowledging an extramarital affair. Government and law enforcement officials have told NBC News that the 60-year-old former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan and coalition forces in Iraq was involved with Broadwell, 37, his biographer.

Petraeus’ extramarital affair was exposed after Tampa socialite Jill Kelley went to an FBI agent to complain about anonymous harassing emails she was receiving warning her to stay away from Petraeus.


Investigators determined the emails came from Broadwell and also uncovered evidence that she had an affair with Petraeus, government and law enforcement officials have told NBC News.

The decision not to prosecute was made "after applying relevant case law to the particular facts of this case," the U.S. Attorney's Office statement said.

"The decision on whether to bring a prosecution is always a serious matter, and one that should never be undertaken without the most thoughtful deliberation. As federal prosecutors, we are guided in the discharge of our responsibilities by considerations of fairness and justice. The prosecution of a case is undertaken only after the most careful review and analysis of the evidence and applicable law," the statement said.

The public statement was issued Tuesday after Broadwell’s lawyers disclosed that they had received a letter from the U.S. Attorney's office in Tampa indicating that she would not be prosecuted for cyberstalking.

“We are pleased with the decision, and are pleased with the professionalism of the Tampa United States Attorney’s Office, particularly Assistant United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow,” said one of Broadwell’s lawyers, Robert Muse of Washington.

The letter to Muse, dated Dec. 14, read in part, “We believe it is appropriate to advise your client that our office has determined that no federal charges will be broad in the Middle District of Florida relating to alleged acts of cyber-stalking.” 

The FBI also investigated whether Broadwell improperly possessed classified information.  While the letter to her lawyer mentioned only cyberstalking, it would be unusual for prosecutors to send a letter indicating that a person was off the hook for one potential charge if it was also considering another. Justice Department officials declined to comment about the documents issue. 

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