CNN Apologizes for Spitzer Analyst who Attacked Topless Dancer in ‘96

-By Warner Todd Huston

Maybe it takes one to know one, but CNN is nonetheless a little red in the face over the gaffe of turning to a man with a troubled past in “adult entertainment” — so to speak — as an analyst for the Elliot Spitzer prostitution story. CNN has apologized for offering up as an analyst one Kendall Coffey, a fellow who had to resign as a U.S. attorney over an incident in 1996 when he attacked a topless dancer during a visit to an adult club.

Glenn Garvin of the Miami Herald has the torrid tale of Coffey’s snippy past:

When it came to getting informed comment Tuesday on New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s involvement in a sex scandal, CNN got a real expert — with more experience in the field than he let on. Billing him only as “a former U.S. attorney,” without any reference to how he achieved his former-ness, the network interviewed Miami’s Kendall Coffey, who had to resign the job in 1996 after biting a dancer during the process of running up a $900 bill at a strip club.

Coffey told CNN that Spitzer should find major trouble with this incident, especially when money changed hands. After all, Coffey ought to know.

That was precisely Coffey’s undoing in 1996. Ejected from the club after his failed attempt to kiss the stripper ended with him biting her instead, he used a credit card to pay the $900 bill. Later he sent his father to the bar to buy the credit-card slip back at a premium price of $1,200, which tipped the irate stripper and her even-more-irate husband off that they’d been dealing with someone anxious to conceal his identity. Their complaints eventually attracted an investigators from the office of the U.S. Justice Department’s inspector general, and Coffey was soon toast.

I guess when CNN claims they are bringing in the experts they really mean experts — or even sexperts, as the case may be.

For it’s part CNN says that they knew of Coffey’s gummed up past. But obviously Coffey got on TV with this story by the skin of his teeth to give us his biting commentary anyway. The AP reported that CNN spokesman Nigel Pritchard said that it was just a “miscommunication” that Coffey was chosen to discuss Spitzer’s story with news anchor Tony Harris on the 11th.

Not the end of the world, here, but it is rather amusing that CNN turned to a guy with past troubles with adult entertainers to talk about a prostitution mess, isn’t it?


Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as,, New Media Journal, Men’s News Daily and the New Media Alliance among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on He is also the owner and operator of Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

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