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Prosecutor moves to gag Augello in Kauffman case

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The man jailed in the killing of April Kauffman has used Facebook to reach the outside world. Now, the state is looking to stop him. The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office has filed a motion for a gag order that would keep Ferdinand Augello from sharing discovery in the case. “This brought to you by the people that starred in last month’s ABC 20/20 episode about my case including a pic of yours truly thrown in at the very end,” Augello wrote on his Facebook page Thursday, after hearing of the motion. “Can you say ‘Hypocritical’?” Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury will hear arguments concerning the gag order Monday afternoon. Augello is jailed on charges that include murder and racketeering for allegedly putting a hit on April Kauffman after she found out about an Oxycontin ring the state claims was led by Dr. James Kauffman and Augello, as the alleged leader of the Pagans Motorcycle Club. Detectives were contacted July 5 by a victim claiming concern for “his/her safety and privacy” due to statements Augello was posting on his Facebook page “pertaining to his case and those individuals, both directly and indirectly, involved,” Chief Assistant Prosecutor Seth Levy wrote in the certification for the ex parte motion obtained by BreakingAC. A July 4th post, the one just before detectives were allegedly contacted, mentioned Andrew Glick and Joseph Mulholland. Glick is an admitted informant in the case who outed himself in an interview with Toronto Star, where he claimed he was in on the planning to kill the veterans advocate
. Mulholland pleaded guilty to second-degree racketeering in the Oxycontin scheme, saying he was paid $1,000 to get prescriptions and that Augello was “the boss.” “Victim is an interesting way to characterize either of those men,” Augello’s defense attorney Mary Linehan told BreakingAC. “Defendant also spoke in detail of statements made by cooperating witnesses, including prior criminal histories and potentially bad acts,” Levy wrote in the certification for the gag order. “Defendant promised to release additional information in future posts, including the recorded statement of a cooperating witness.” Augello has consistently taken to Facebook to get his side of the story out. More recently, he quoted information from the grand jury transcripts included in his discovery. “My discovery is my own and I can share it with whomever I want,” Augello told BreakingAC. “I can share it with the world if I want until the judge orders me not to.” Augello has not said who is running the page for him, since he has no access to the internet or electronic equipment inside the Atlantic County Justice Facility, but has insisted the words are directly from him. “The real joke is that the same people using the media to bash me now want to shut me up,” he told BreakingAC in a Facebook message. He pointed to the “20/20” special that included interviews with Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner and Sgt. James Scoppa, the lead detective in the case who talks to host Deborah Roberts inside the Kauffmans’ Linwood home where the killing took place. The Prosecutor's Office shared a photo of Damon Tyner talking with 20/20's Deborah Roberts on the Atlantic City Boardwalk during a taping of the Kauffman episode. Tyner has refused interview requests following the special, which his office alerted the public to in a press release before the episode aired. “I am pleased to announce that the investigation into the homicide of April Kauffman will be featured on ABC’s show 20/20,” Tyner said in the release. “The crew from 20/20, along with host Deborah Roberts, interviewed myself and members of this office in late March of this year. We are optimistic that the show will depict the hard work and effort of the women and men of ACPO in a favorable light.” The show also revealed it had obtained a copy of James Kauffman’s suicide note, which at that time had been refused even to his widow and attorneys, to whom it was addressed. Tyner would not respond to questions about the release of the note, which has since been deemed as evidence in the case. “Releasing personal information, criminal records or other potentially bad acts, certainly could create difficulties in granting those defendants a fair and impartial trial,” Levy wrote in the motion for the gag order. “Defendant Augello would no doubt claim his rights had been violated if he were to learn that co-defendants were sharing content from his recorded conversations or, even worse, speaking of his many additional bad acts, which are not presently the subject of litigation.” But Augello confirmed to BreakingAC that only Glick and Mulholland have been named in his posts. Neither man will be going to trial. They will, however, be potential witnesses. “More poignantly, the State plans on using a number of these cooperating witnesses in this very trial,” Levy wrote. “Many of these witnesses made statements of a derogatory nature toward or against the interests of such violent organizations as La Cosa Nostra and The Pagan Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, both of which are known to take violent retaliation against perceived ‘rats.’ The continued disclosure of witness information will not only have a detrimental effect on the efficiency of the trial in the above captioned matter, but also for the future cooperation of witnesses.”

Lynda Cohen

Lynda Cohen founded BreakingAC after working as a local newspaper reporter for more than two decades. She is an NJPA award-winner and was a Stories of Atlantic City fellow.

Sunday, May 19, 2024
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