Kauffman pleads not guilty on gun, obstruction charges
James Kauffman pleaded not guilty Thursday to gun and obstruction charges.
The former endocrinologist appeared briefly in court, the one-brown hair that rings his balding head now pure white.
The plea offer in the case is five years with 3½ years of parole ineligibility, Chief Assistant Prosecutor told Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury.
Defense attorney Lou Barbone — whose partner, Ed Jacobs, has been representing Kauffman — indicated they will file motions in the case, likely trying to get some or all of the indictment dismissed.
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Kauffman has been in the Atlantic County Justice Facility since his arrest June 13, when he pulled a gun and threatened to shoot himself after investigators served him with a search warrant. He was indicted Sept. 6.
In that time, the doctor has been dropped from his name, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner noted outside the courtroom.
“Mr.,” he corrected a reporter. “He’s no longer a doctor.”
Kauffman’s license is suspended as a result of his actions when agents served the warrant at his Egg Harbor Township office.
The warrant was for certain files and other information pertaining to an ongoing federal probe into health care fraud. A similar warrant was previously served to Margate Dr. John Gaffney, who pleaded guilty in the conspiracy last week.
Public employees throughout Atlantic County allegedly used their state benefits to get thousands in unnecessary drug compounds.
But unlike the warrants served on others, Kauffman’s also mentioned a homicide investigation, defense attorney Ed Jacobs previously said.
That investigation is into the May 10, 2012 killing of Kauffman’s wife, radio host and veterans advocate April Kauffman.
She was found fatally shot inside the bedroom of the Linwood home she and the doctor shared. No one has been arrested in that case, and no suspects named.
But the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office did make a motion to compel him to give DNA in the case just 18 days before Kauffman was served search warrants for his office and homes, including the one in Linwood.
His reaction to the appearance of law enforcement at his office indicated he believed it was related: I’m not going to jail for this!” he is heard saying on body camera footage that was used to keep him jailed under the new bail reform.
An appellate court upheld that decision.
DeLury set an initial disposition conference for Oct. 19.