By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
WASHINGTON, D.C., FEBRUARY 22The mystery man in the Hugh Rodham pardon scandal may turn out to be Kendall Coffey, another Florida lawyer. The current coverage is focusing on Rodham, Senator Hillary Clinton's brother, and the $400,000 he was paid after President Clinton pardoned and commuted the sentences of two men, convicted herbalist swindler A. Glenn Braswell and drug smuggler Carlos Vignali. Rodham says he has returned the money.
But the man who actually prepared the testimonials and applications was Kendall Coffey, a former U.S. attorney appointed by Clinton and lead lawyer for the family fighting to keep Elián González in the United States. For the last two weeks reporters have been calling the Coffey, and he hasn't responded. The woman who answered the phone at his office today said that he had no statement at this time, and that she would give him the request for comment whenever he next checked his messages.
Coffey lost his U.S. attorney job for biting a stripper. He is remembered for having lost a key drug case against two smugglers who had been accused of importing 75 tons of cocaine, said to be worth $2 billion. It was the biggest drug-smuggling case ever lost by federal prosecutors.
On a February 1996 evening Coffey was at Lipstik, a Miami nude bar, where he had a private session in which stripper Tamara "Tiffany" Gutierrez danced naked for him. Inexplicably, Coffey lunged for her breast and missed, biting her on the arm. He was escorted out of the establishment. Coffey had put his tab on a credit card. When exposed, Coffey resigned.
Most recently, Coffey was in the news as one of the attorneys working on the recount for the Gore campaign in Florida.