Kilpatrick crisis guru hops from Detroit trial to CIA scandal

Crisis guru Judy Smith, left, counseled Kwame Kilpatrick amid the text-message scandal fallout.

Judy Smith, the crisis manager who testified last month about helping Kwame Kilpatrick during the text-message scandal, is playing a key role in the scandal surrounding Gen. David Petraeus.

Florida socialite Jill Kelley who allegedly received threatening emails from Petraeus’ mistress hired the Washington D.C.-based crisis manager.

Smith, who colorful career inspired the ABC show Scandal, might want money up front, based on her Kilpatrick experience.

She testified Oct. 16 that she was paid about $180,000 to work for Kilpatrick, including money from his nonprofit group. But Kilpatrick stiffed her for about $60,000, a debt her firm wrote off.

Kelley, who reportedly triggered the FBI probe that led to Petraeus’ resignation, joins a distinguished roster of Smith clients.

From her bio:

Ms. Smith honed her skills through her experiences with some of the most historic and sensational events of our time, including the Iran Contra investigation, the prosecution of former Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, the 1991 Gulf War, the Los Angeles riots, the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas, the President Clinton scandal involving Monica Lewinsky, the congressional inquiry of Enron, and the United Nations Foundation and World Health Organization response to the SARS epidemic.

Robert Snell
Robert Snell is the Detroit News federal courts reporter. He can be reached at or (313) 222-2028.