Kendall Coffey Quotes


Publicity vs. the Plea

Dominique Strauss-Kahn: Publicity and a Plea Deal By Kendall Coffey, The New York Times May 26, 2011 As the case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn reminds us, pretrial publicity is never a defendant’s friend and is usually a crushing adversary. There is no presumption of innocence in America’s court of public opinion where accusations are embraced, denials are dismissed and few open minds await the day in court promised by our Constitution. The impact on future jurors has been documented by empirical studies confirming the common sense notion that negative publicity contributes to negative results. Even though trial judges try hard to minimize that damage, as one Supreme Court quoted a candid juror, “You can’t forget what you see and hear.” Even before trial, critical rulings are decided by judges, many elected, who are fair enough to try to ignore the condemnation outside the courthouse but human enough to carefully follow media reports. At times, the result can seem to be rulings that are less susceptible to criticism and more hospitable to the prosecution. And yet, the vast majority of criminal cases are not decided by either judges or jurors, Since more than 90 percent of criminal cases are resolved by plea bargains, it is the prosecution office, mostly headed by elected D.A.s, who are the real decision-makers. And with the public watching closely and even vengefully at times, agreeing to a “lenient” deal is about as popular for prosecutors as supporting a tax hike is for a legislator. Irrespective of the merits of the case, the likelihood remains that at some point the top-tier defense team will discuss a possible plea with prosecutors. And if they do, public opinion, contaminated by perp walking and salacious reports that no judge would allow as evidence, will be an uninvited guest to that negotiation. The fact is that whatever happened on that Saturday afternoon, this defendant has already lost in one venue and it may be the one that matters the...

Read More

Scott Rothstein scandal: One year later

He Rose Quickly and Fell Even Faster By Jon Burstein and Paula McMahon, Sun Sentinel 10:15 AM EDT, November 1, 2010 Fallout from the largest fraud in South Florida history continues after the dark secret behind Scott Rothstein’s success was revealed a year ago this week. The Ponzi schemer now sits in prison with limited contact from the outside world. The disgraced lawyer and business impresario who once held court at his now-shuttered Bova Prime restaurant is now reviled as a total fraud. The attorneys who had been on his Fort Lauderdale law firm’s payroll cringe when they hear his name. His former law partners at Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler have become the subject of scorn with colleagues questioning how they had no idea Rothstein was using the law firm as the front for his $1.4 billion investment fraud. His wife, Kim Rothstein, faces a massive IRS lien that her attorney says has kept her from getting a job. The Rothstein drama captivated Fort Lauderdale—the implosion of his law firm, the details of his extravagant lifestyle and his dramatic return from Morocco, where he had fled as it became clear his colossal scam was unraveling. Within eight months, Rothstein, 48, was arrested, pleaded guilty to the fraud and was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison. While Rothstein’s name has been wiped from buildings and billboards, the path of financial destruction left in his wake remains. With the one-year anniversary of the scandal, questions still loom. Where is Rothstein now? This is the most common question asked about Rothstein. His name and inmate number have vanished from the U.S. Bureau of Prison’s inmate locator webpage. While conspiracy theories abound on the Internet, attorneys in civil and criminal cases involving Rothstein say there’s no question he is behind bars. Rothstein’s lawyer, Marc Nurik, scoffed last week at the notion that anyone could believe Rothstein is anywhere but prison. The defense attorney said he can’t give any details where Rothstein is incarcerated. Fort Lauderdale attorney, William Scherer, who is representing investors who lost more than $165 million with Rothstein, said he’s in constant contact with the Ponzi schemer through Nurik. Rothstein is being kept in protective custody in an undisclosed prison, Scherer said. Scherer said Rothstein continues to help attorneys trying to recover investors’ money. Rothstein began cooperating with the federal government almost immediately after he came back from Morocco. Rothstein will come back to Broward County—as early as next year—for more court appearances. He will be Scherer’s star witness in a civil case against more than 30 people and companies accused of aiding or allowing Rothstein’s Ponzi scheme. That case could go to trial sometime in 2011. Rothstein will inevitably ask U.S. District Judge James I. Cohn in Fort Lauderdale to reduce his prison sentence because of his cooperation. He also could be brought into any of the ongoing bankruptcy cases as well as future criminal cases filed against co-conspirators. Why have only Rothstein and the law firm’s chief operating officer...

Read More

The Sentencing of Madoff

Interview with Kendall Coffey CNN – Rick Sanchez March 12, 2009 Rick Sanchez: None of those people had any problem with talking to us today on TV. As a matter of fact, they wanted to get that message out. They’ve been wanting to get that message out for months now. Ashley Banfield is good enough to join us.  She is the host of “In-Session TV.” Also, Kendall Coffey, former federal prosecutor in Miami. He and I worked many a cases.  I don’t remember any quite like this one though in South Florida. Ash, I want to begin with you. I want to begin with you. Is this a death sentence for Bernie Madoff? Ashley Banfield: You know most people think “yes,” and you probably heard the number being thrown out there a lot: up to 150 years. And the reality is, Rick, it’s not going to be 150 years.  It’s not likely that these will all be concurrent sentences, or rather a consecutive sentence, but more likely some concurrency. And there’s a lot, by the way, that Bernie Madoff is doing and could be doing to mitigate the numbers of years that the judge will ultimately hand down. Rick Sanchez: You almost wonder where he’s going to end up going to. Kendall, let me bring you into this question because a lot of people are wondering–is this guy going to end up in one of those country club jails we hear about all the time? Kendall Coffey: You know so many times the interest of the public sort of drops off after the sentencing.  This time, Rick, I think a lot of the victims are going to want to know where he’s staying. Now that he’s going from the “penthouse,” they want him to be going to the “big house.” In some of the low-security facilities, some of the Enron era marquee names are staying in right now. You remember Bernie Ebbers from WorldCom, John Regis from Adelphia–may not be grim and bleak enough as far as lot of these victims are concerned. Rick Sanchez: You do wonder, though, and I don’t know which one of you wants to tackle this – why he went in today and said “I did it” knowing that.  I mean he’s not going to getting out any time soon. Why didn’t he fight this? Kendall Coffey: I think he knew he’s heading to effectively, a life sentence, but also knew he couldn’t save himself, and I think he’s trying to, in effect, do damage control for others to prevent some of the collateral damage to friends and family.   He’s hoping that once the prosecution against Bernie Madoff ends, maybe the case in the investigation of the Bernie Madoff fraud may slow down a little bit – may taper off – because there’s a lot more people that have explaining to do about how this happened. Ashley Banfield: I’m going to add to what Kendall’s saying.  I think there’s a lot of that, and then...

Read More

Who Is Kgalema Motlanthe? Somali Piracy; Charles Taylor’s Son on Trial

A Segment from CNN’s Inside Africa Aired October 3, 2008 12:30 EST THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to INSIDE AFRICA, your weekly window to the continent. I’m Isha Sesay. On the show this week, South Africa’s interim president takes the helm at a turbulent time. Who is Kgalema Motlanthe and how will he govern? Also ahead, Somali pirates take hijacking to new heights. We’ll look at the booming scourge and what’s being done about it. And the son of Charles Taylor stands trial in the U.S. state of Florida for brutal crimes allegedly committed in Liberia. We begin in South Africa, where Kgalema Motlanthe had been installed as interim president. He steps in at a troubled time, replacing Thabo Mbeki, who was ousted by his own party late last month. Nkepile Mabuse looks at Motlanthe’s political background and his first few days in office. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KGALEMA MOTLANTHE, SOUTH AFRICA PRESIDENT: So help me God. NKEPILE MABUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After a turbulent time for South Africa, the new interim president tries to set a tone of calm. MOTLANTHE: We have moved quickly to bring stability to the country’s national executive, confirming the positions of ministers and deputy ministers, and filling any vacancies that have arisen. MABUSE: One of Kgalema Motlanthe’s first moves was to bring back celebrated finance minister Trevor Manuel, one of several cabinet ministers who resigned after Thabo Mbeki’s ouster. Manuel is held in high regard around the world, credited for promoting economic growth and implementing investor-friendly policies. But Motlanthe did make one later cabinet change. He replaced Manto Tshabalala-Msimang as health minister. She had been criticized for promoting her remedies as treatments for AIDS. Tshabalala-Msimang now occupies the post of minister in the presidency (ph). Many AIDS activists were pleased with the move. MARK HEYWOD, AIDS ACTIVIST: We’ve called for the dismissal of the health minister for a number of years. Instead of a health minister who’s created unity of purpose in dealing with this epidemic, she has fueled conflict. MABUSE: Motlanthe has a labor union background and is described as a left- leaning intellectual. AZAR JAMMINE, ECONOMIST: The new administration, especially in the finance ministry, would be inclined towards a far more interventionist and populist style of economic policy than we have had in the past. MABUSE: Just months ago, Motlanthe was sworn in as an MP and cabinet minister. When ANC head Jacob Zuma facing corruption charges that have since been thrown out on a technicality, the party made Motlanthe second in command last year, putting him in line to take over should Zuma be convicted. But publicly, Motlanthe insisted he had no presidential ambitions. MOTLANTHE: If I had my own choice, we’ll try and identify the best of the available talent and put them in charge. MABUSE: Despite being the ruling party head, Zuma himself was not eligible to take over from Mbeki,...

Read More