CNN Names Laura Coates Chief Legal Analyst

By Mark Mwachiro 

Laura Coates has been named CNN’s chief legal analyst, the network announced Friday morning.

In this role, Coates will continue to provide legal expertise throughout CNN’s programming and serve as a fill-in anchor. She played a prominent role in CNN’s coverage of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the January 6th hearings and the two impeachment hearings of President Donald Trump. She has also covered high-profile criminal prosecutions and trials, including the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin.

Coates joined CNN in 2016 and was most recently the network’s senior legal analyst. The anchor also hosts The Laura Coates Show, a Sirius XM show based out of Washington, D.C.


Earlier in the year, CNN had announced that Coates would anchor the 11 p.m. ET edition of CNN Tonight but nixed those plans saying that it could not staff a separate hour at this time. The network was also focusing on Alisyn Camerota’s New York-based show, which starts at 10 p.m. for the time being.

CNN’s 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. programming block, called CNN Tonight, is still temporary, with Camerota currently leading both hours.

Coates fills the spot vacated by Jeffrey Toobin, who left the network in August 2022. Toobin had been with CNN since 2002, providing on-air analysis of various major legal stories.

However, Toobin will also be known for an embarrassing episode that happened in the fall of 2020, when he was caught masturbating during a Zoom call between staffers at The New Yorker.