Was gag too late to avoid tainting pool in Augello jury selection?
Jury selection begins Tuesday in the case against the only person charged in April Kauffman’s killing. Ferdinand “Freddy” Augello faces charges of murder and racketeering in the case that alleges he and Kauffman’s doctor husband conspired to have her killed after she learned about their alleged Oxycontin ring. The local radio host and avid veterans advocate was found fatally shot in her Linwood home May 10, 2012. This past January, the doctor and Augello were charged with murder. Six others were charged in the drug ring with the pair. A gag order in the case was meant to help keep from dirtying the jury pool that includes more than 200 Atlantic County residents, Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury previously said.
But in granting the state’s motion to keep anyone involved in the case from talking about it outside of the courtroom, the judge admitted “the court may be closing the barn door after the equine has already bolted.” The state’s request was sparked by Augello’s Facebook posts — put up by an unnamed intermediary — that talked about the evidence against him and included references to discovery in the case and alleged unfair treatment. Before those posts garnered the prosecution’s ire, the case already had gone national, aided by a 20/20 special that had the full support of the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office. Damon Tyner sat down for an interview with host Deborah Roberts, and even walked the Atlantic City Boardwalk with her, a photo previously released by his office showed.