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.
Tracey 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 Dr. 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. Tracey 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 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.
During the defense cross examination, Dr. Gwen admitted that he said in April 2012 that in his opinion the cause of death of Eleonora Kaufman was still pending, as he never finished the report or signed off on the report because he moved to Dallas to be a Medical Examiner.
Dr. Gwen went on to say that Dr. Bruce Hyma, the Miami-Dade chief medical examiner, had declared Eleonora Kaufman's death a homicide without calling him and consulting with him on it. Gwen is the only person who performed the actual autopsy. Gwen said during his autopsy he did not find anything wrong with the heart but did understand that the scaring was found at a later time.
He also testified that in both scenarios Adam Kaufman gave of how he found his wife – one of which was slumped over the magazine rack, the second that had her slumped over the toilet -- neither could have caused the force of a blow that was necessary to cause the injuries to her neck on the inside and out.
Gwen testified that the three failed intubation attempts also could not have caused the injuries to Eleonora's neck. He said he'd never heard of a failed intubation causing the injuries where she had them.
Prosecution's Witness Aids Adam Kaufman's Defense
Adam Kaufman was unable to hold back tears as Larissa Adamyan, a good friend of his deceased wife, testified about the couple's love for each other. Adamyan was meant to be a key witness for the prosecution, but her testimony ultimately backfired when what she said on the stand supported the defense's claim that Eleonora and Adam had a loving marriage.
"She was very happy with Adam," Adamyan said, saying that the night she last saw her Eleonora was the happiest she had ever seen her. "She loved him very much."
Adamyan testified that Eleonora got a spray tan hours before her death in anticipation of Adam's brother Seth's upcoming wedding, and that afterwards she had come over to her house to hang out and have food and wine. Adamyan testified that when Eleonora arrived she took off her jacket to show off her recent spray tan.
Adamyan testified that she saw absolutely none of the cuts, bruises or abrasions on her body that the state says were there hours later after Eleonora was dead.
Eleonora Kaufman's death first made headlines back in 2009 when the defense initially said it was caused by a violent, allergic reaction to a spray tan, but that theory has since been scrapped. Adam Kaufman's lawyers are now using the defense that she died of a heart attack.