Entries in Adam Kaufman (3)


'Spray Tan' Murder Trial: Adam Kaufman Explains His Defense

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Adam Kaufman, the Florida developer who earlier this week was found not guilty of second-degree murder in the 2007 death of his wife in an explosive trial that became known as the "spray tan" trial, says he never thought he would be convicted.

"In my heart I didn't," Kaufman said Thursday on ABC's Good Morning America.  "You leave it up to 12 good people that have to make a very, very difficult decision.  Presented with the evidence in this case, I just didn't feel that they would be able to come back with a guilty verdict."

Kaufman stood accused of strangling his wife Eleonora "Lina" Kaufman to death in their Aventura, Fla., home.  The defense maintained throughout the trial that the real estate developer is innocent, arguing that his wife died from a pre-existing heart condition.

The case initially garnered nationwide attention in 2009, when the defense blamed Eleonora's death on a violent, allergic reaction to the spray tan that she'd received the day before she died.

Attorneys said that theory was disproved by science, and the defense was later dropped.  Defense attorneys soon instead said she died naturally from an unknown heart condition.

In his first appearance since being declared innocent, Kaufman on Thursday explained why his defense team initially presented that case.

"The night before she [Eleonora] passed away she had a spray tan for the first time and we felt that it would be negligent of us not to bring that up," Kaufman said on GMA.  "The problem was that it was never investigated, it was never looked into and we felt that it should have."

"You weren't getting answers from the medical examiner's office.  They wouldn't return our phone calls," he said.  "You have a 33-year-old woman [who is] healthy, active, in great shape, eats well, doesn't drink and smokes a few cigarettes a month.  We were thinking of every possible thing that could have happened."

Kaufman sat stone-faced and silent throughout most of the trial, and didn't take the stand in his defense.  He did break down in tears as the court heard the desperate 911 call he made when he found his wife on their bathroom floor five years ago.

"It's something that I don't wish on my worst enemy," Kaufman said on GMA.  "It's something that you don't ever expect you're going to be in a situation like that where you walk in and suddenly find your wife, who's healthy by all means, collapsed, cold, non-responsive."

The explosive trial ended Tuesday with an emotional outburst from the defendant's mother-in-law, who stood by his side throughout the trial and even testified for the defense.

Frida Aizman, Lina Kaufman's mother, was ejected from the courtroom after she had an emotional response to the prosecution's suggestion that she only came to Kaufman's defense in order to maintain her relationship with her grandchildren.

After the not guilty verdict was read, she and her son-in-law hugged.

"No matter what, I'm truly blessed to have that," he said of his wife's family's support.  "Her family has been extremely supportive throughout this whole thing."

"Everyone that knew our relationship and knew us would never in a million years think that would be possible," Kaufman said of the charges that he strangled his wife.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Adam Kaufman Trial: Detectives Handling Case Had Affair

ABC News(MIAMI) -- A jury hearing the case of Adam Kaufman, the Florida real estate developer accused of strangling his wife to death in 2007, learned that a detective investigating the case at the hospital and couple's residence had an affair years prior with the lead detective on the Kaufman case.

While prosecutors say that Adam Kaufman strangled his wife to death at their Aventura, Fla., home, he maintains that he found his wife, 33, on the bathroom floor of the couple's home in the early morning of Nov. 7, 2007.  His defense lawyers say Eleonora "Lina" Kaufman died of a heart condition.

While being questioned by Kaufman's defense attorney Thursday, Detective Anna Howe of the Aventura Police department -- who is still married to the same man she was at the time she was involved with Detective Anthony Angula, the lead detective on the Kaufman case -- admitted to the affair and that her husband is aware of it.

"My husband knows it, and our marriage is good," Detective Howe told the court.

Howe also admitted that she was told by Angula at the time to not take any of the magazines in the magazine rack where Eleonora allegedly fell as evidence.

Defense attorneys argued that the year worth of magazines in the magazine rack are in fact evidence, showing Howe a picture that she admitted shows organic material on the magazines.

Howe told the jury that she didn't see any organic material on the magazines or the wall of the bathroom on Nov. 7, 2007, when she was collecting evidence at the Kaufman home.  Howe said she would have obviously taken those items into evidence had she seen them.

Robert Meyers of the Aventura Police Department, who was one of the original officers at the hospital the day Eleonora Kaufman died, told the jury he overheard Adam Kaufman tell three different versions of what happened when he found his wife.

Officer Meyers testified that he heard Adam Kaufman tell detectives that he found his wife with her neck resting on the toilet bowl, but testified he later heard Kaufman tell detectives he found her in the bathroom with her head on the magazine rack.  Later, Meyers told the jury he overheard Kaufman say he found his wife cold and slumped over the toilet.

Meyers also told the jury that even though he couldn't see Adam Kaufman and Eleonora's mother, he heard the two yelling moments after Eleonora's death.

"I heard her wailing and shrieking and yelling at Adam, "Why, why, why Adam how did this happen?"" Meyers testified.  "I then heard Adam reply 'I don't [explicative] know why, I don't [explicative] know why.'"

While being questioned by defense attorney Alberto Milian, Meyers admitted he didn't actually know who Eleonora's mother was, and that he couldn't tell Adam apart from his twin brother Seth.

Officer Meyers also said he never put any conversations he allegedly overheard from Adam Kaufman into his police report, and that he threw away all of the notes he took that day.  Milian called his police report incomplete.

Testimony continues Monday morning in Miami, and the trial is expected to last several weeks.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Adam Kaufman Trial: Wife Claimed No Heath Issues, Doctor Says

ABC News(MIAMI, Fla.) -- The jury hearing testimony in the murder trial of Adam Kaufman, the Florida real estate developer accused of strangling his wife to death in 2007, learned from a doctor who performed the woman's breast augmentation months before her death that she had cited no potential medical problems, including the congestive heart failure the defense claims killed her.

Eleonora "Lina" Kaufman was found on the bathroom floor of her and her husband's south Florida home in the early morning of Nov. 7, 2007.  The prosecution alleges that the frantic 911 call placed by Adam happened moments after he strangled his wife to death.  His defense attorneys say that Eleonora's death was not murder, but a medical condition that suddenly turned deadly.

"Eleonora Kaufman did not suffer from congestive heart failure," Dr. Tracey Baker, the plastic surgeon who performed breast augmentation on her, went on the record saying in court Tuesday.

Baker also said that he and his nurses and anestheologist did not find any cardiovascular problems while examining the 33-year-old mother of two.  When asked about at any point before during or after the surgery whether there was anything unusual about the functioning of Eleonora's heart, he testified, "she was normal."

But when Adam Kaufman's defense attorney, Albert Milian, cross-examined Baker, he asked whether it was possible that patients lie about their past medical conditions on paperwork at plastic surgeon offices in order to get the surgery.  The doctor said that it could be possible.

Prosecutor Joe Mansfield went on to point out a long list of injuries on Eleonora's body when she was found, which included injuries on the upper-back muscles, abrasions on and below her chin, neck, left shoulder and chest, and hemorrhages in several strap muscles in the interior of her neck.

Mansfield asked Dr. Chester Gwen, the former Miami-Dade County associate medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Eleonora Kaufman, whether such deep injuries would be anywhere near where intubation performed by medical technicians who arrived on the scene would be preformed.  Gwen testified that no, the injuries would not be related.

Defense attorneys argue that many of the injuries found on Eleonora's body were the result of her hitting her neck on a magazine rack as she fell to the bathroom floor after suffering a heart attack.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio