Elections

Meet the Miami lawyer defending Donald Trump's campaign manager

Kendall Coffey in 2014.
Kendall Coffey in 2014. El Nuevo Herald File

Miami defense attorney Kendall Coffey knows a thing or two about high-profile cases. There was the presidential recount. The voter fraud in the 1997 Miami mayor's race. Elián González. Scott Rothstein.

Now add a new one to the list: Donald Trump.

Proving once again that almost all national news stories have a Miami connection, Coffey has been named one of two defense attorneys representing Trump's campaign manager. Corey Lewandowski was charged Tuesday with simple battery for allegedly grabbing a female reporter by the arm at Trump National Golf Club, a Trump property in Jupiter. The lead attorney is Scott N. Richardson of West Palm Beach.

A surveillance video released by the Jupiter Police Department appears to show Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski grabbing Breitbar news reporter Michelle Fields (walking at Trump's right in white) as she tried to ask Trump a question

A little background on the case:

Security footage appears to show Lewandowski yanking Michelle Fields, who at the time worked for the conservative Breitbart News. She has since resigned.

Lewandowski, who had insisted he "never touched" her, will plea not guilty, Trump's campaign said in a statement, calling him "absolutely innocent." "He is completely confident that he will be exonerated," spokeswoman Hope Hicks wrote.

Trump continued to stand by his aide Tuesday.

Coffey is a prominent lawyer and former federal prosecutor who, as national political reporters discovered Tuesday afternoon, resigned from his U.S. attorney gig in 1996, a few months after being accused of biting a stripper on the arm.

He had lost a big drug case (a federal jury surprisingly acquitted Willie Falcon and Sal Magluta of smuggling 75 tons of cocaine). One night, he headed to the Lipstik Adult Entertainment Club in Kendall to soften the blow. He ordered a $900 champagne bottle, paid $200 for a private dance and then allegedly bit the dancer. He was ejected from the club.

Since then, Coffey has led an unnotorious existence as a respected attorney in private practice (and a sometime TV pundit). He's also taken part in some of the biggest trials in recent memory:

Coffey represented former Miami Mayor Joe Carollo, who found his opponent's campaign committed voter fraud and resulted in a new election. He advocated for the Miami family who tried to keep young Cuban rafter Elián in the U.S. He formed part of Al Gore's team during the 2000 presidential recount. And he defended the Fort Lauderdale law firm of Rothstein Rosenfeldt and Adler after founding partner Rothstein's massive Ponzi scheme collapsed.

In 2010, he wrote a book about his many experiences leading high-profile trials. Spinning the Law: Trying Cases in the Court of Public Opinion did not touch on the Lipstik incident.

With Trump, Coffey has another case "in the court of public opinion" on his hands.

Read the police report charging Lewandowski: Police Report

Miami Herald writer Amy Sherman contributed to this report.

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