• Lynda Cohen

Judge gags all parties from posts on Kauffman case

Updated: May 8

Both sides’ use of media to air information in the April Kauffman case has negatively impacted the jury pool, a judge said Monday in granting gagging all parties involved in the case. Chief Atlantic County Prosecutor Seth Levy filed the motion in an attempt to quiet Facebook posts by defendant Ferdinand Augello that quote discovery in the case and name those likely to testify against him. READ FULL RULING HERE Augello is set to go to trial Sept. 11, for allegedly setting up the hit on the local radio host who was found fatally shot in her Linwood bedroom May 10, 2012. He also is accused of racketeering in an alleged Oxycontin ring involving Kauffman’s husband, the late Dr. James Kauffman. Augello has been using an undisclosed intermediary to post on his Facebook page as he sits in the Atlantic County Justice Facility awaiting trial. But the state also has used the media to release information on the case, Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury said, pointing to the 20/20 segment on the case in which Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner and the lead investigator, Detective Sgt. James Scoppa, both were interviewed. “Particularly concerning in this case has been the use of the media by both sides to air discovery information,” the judge said. DeLury acknowledged “the court may be closing the barn door after the equine has already bolted,” as he gave all parties 48 hours to scrub the Internet of any social media postings or press releases that violate the order in the case. It took much less. By Monday night, the Prosecutor’s Office and Augello had deleted any postings that went against DeLury’s order. “Speculation, innuendo, inflammatory rhetoric and gossip, even if dressed up in social media posts or network news magazine segments have no place in a fair, speedy and public criminal trial under our state and federal constitutions,” he said. A few hours after hearing, Augello had a status posted updating his friends on the judge’s decision. “I have 48 hrs. to remove these references from my social media sites as do the ACPO from their web and blog sites,” he wrote. “Like I said before, I am complying with the Judge’s ruling contrary to any personal belief that I may have. Stay tuned to my site for your favorite Willi Rocket Music and Freddymade Guitar pictures & videos.”

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