A federal lawsuit is attempting to do what the media and supporters have been unable to do: Get inside the investigation into April Kauffman’s death.
The radio host and veteran’s advocate was found shot to death inside her Linwood home May 10, 2012. No one has been charged in the killing.
The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office is now fighting an April 21 subpoena to turn over “a complete and accurate copy of the investigatory file” relating to the circumstances surrounding Kauffman’s death, according to a motion filed this month.
The documents sought “consist of sensitive information, including the names and statements of numerous witnesses as well as the identities of two confidential informants,” acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain writes in his response.
It was unclear who those informants may be and their involvement in the case.
“Disclosure of the identities of the confidential informants, either directly or indirectly, would immediately jeopardize the safety and well-being of those informants,” McClain writes in his reply.
Kauffman’s widower, Dr. James Kauffman, and her daughter are involved in a federal lawsuit over who has the rights to $600,000 in life insurance claims. Kauffman originally sued the insurance company, which would not pay him until it received official confirmation he was not a suspect in his wife’s death.
In both the federal suit and a wrongful death claim filed last month, Kimberly Pack claims the doctor is responsible for killing her mother and should not receive any money under the Slayer’s Statute.
Dr. Kauffman’s attorneys also have filed a subpoena, asking that Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Sgt. Michael Mattioli be compelled to testify at the Atlantic City law offices of Jacobs & Barbone. Mattioli is the investigator who interviewed Dr. Kauffman at the crime scene, according to the filing.
“Should Sgt. Mattioli give testimony pursuant to the plaintiff’s subpoena, it will create another avenue for cross-examination at trial, as defense counsel could seize on any discrepancies between the deposition testimony and the trial testimony, thus harming the ability of the Prosecutor’s Office to present its case,” the prosecutor’s motion reads.
“Our position on the issue is stated in our court papers,” McClain said when asked to comment Monday.
Those papers indicate “disclosure of (the) file and information concerning (the) investigation would jeopardize the continuing efforts of the Prosecutor’s Office to identify the source of responsibility for Ms. Kauffman’s murder.”
“The Prosecutor’s Office continues to gather evidence and pursue leads in its effort to discover how and by whom April Kauffman was killed,” the motion states.
The office argues that it’s unclear why either party would need full disclosure of the criminal investigation to proceed with the insurance case.
“Both Ms. Pack and (Dr. Kauffman) are themselves sources of information in the investigation,” reads the motion, which refers to Dr. Kauffman only as “the plaintiff.” “Ms. Pack has been interviewed by the Prosecutor’s Office and has been in communication with the office throughout the course of the investigation. (Kauffman) was interviewed by Sergeant Mattioli at the scene of the crime, the plaintiff’s home.”
If the court ignores the argument that the information is protected, the Prosecutor’s Office is requesting a protective order be made to restrict the disclosure of that information.
Kauffman’s attorneys also have filed a motion to have the federal case remanded to the state, since the insurance company is no longer involved in the litigation. Transamerica Life Insurance agreed to put the money in an account, which then will be awarded at the court’s discretion. In return, both Kauffman and Pack have agreed not to sue the company.
In addition to the federal case, Pack is suing her former stepfather in Atlantic County Superior Court, claiming he “was responsible for the intentional killing or murder of his wife, April Kauffman.”
The suit, filed by attorney Patrick D’Arcy, claims Pack is entitled to compensatory and punitive damages. The suit also withholds the right to add any additional defendants if they are identified.
Both Kauffman’s attorney, Ed Jacobs, and D’Arcy declined comment, citing the ongoing litigation.
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