Frida Aizman testifies in court today Thursday, May 24, 2012, as part of the defense of her son-in-law Adam Kaufman, an Aventura real estate executive who is accused of killing his wife Eleonora Kaufman.
An Aventura womans mother testified Thursday that she witnessed her daughter faint at least 10 to 12 times in the years before she was found collapsed in the bathroom of her home in November 2007.
The testimony of Frida Aizman was meant to show that Eleonora Lina Kaufman, 33, died of a heart ailment and a fall onto a magazine rack not strangulation by her husband.
All these years, we didnt take it seriously, Aizman said of the fainting.
Aizman was the first defense witness for Adam Kaufman, who is on trial in Miami-Dade for second-degree murder.
She testified the same day Miami-Dade prosecutors concluded their case by calling a University of Florida physics expert who testified that Kaufmans neck would not have struck a magazine rack had she fallen as she sat on a toilet.
The neck just cannot get there. Its blocked by the slumping of the head, Dr. Jim Ipser told jurors.
Adam Kaufman, a real estate executive, is charged with second-degree murder. Prosecutors believe he strangled Eleonora Kaufman, leaving pronounced marks on her neck, than gave shifting versions to paramedics of how he discovered the body.
Eleonora Kaufmans health has become a major point of contention as the trial concluded its second week of testimony.
Prosecutor Joseph Mansfield, in his opening statement, described her as a healthy vibrant woman whose death was ruled a homicide by Miami-Dades chief medical examiner. Defense attorney Bill Matthewman said Eleonora Kaufman had an undiagnosed heart ailment as evidenced by a scar found in her heart by a defense expert, not the medical examiner.
In the states case, three of Kaufmans friends testified that that the woman was healthy. A plastic surgeon also testified that Kaufman had a clean bill of health before breast augmentation surgery several months before her death.
But Aizman took the stand Monday to say that Eleonora Kaufman did indeed suffer from mysterious dizzy spells and pressure in her chest.
More than eight years before Kaufmans death, Aizman said she had already witnessed the fainting spells about a dozen times. At least once, around 2004 when Aizman was living in Denmark, her daughter called to say she had fainted and couldnt get up.
I dont feel my legs and I dont know what happened, she recalled Kaufman saying.
But Aizman acknowledged that Kaufman apparently never visited a doctor to figure out the cause of the fainting.
She didnt take it seriously, Aizman told Mansfield in cross examination. Me neither.
Aizman also described her daughters relationship with Adam Kaufman -- who dabbed his eyes as she spoke -- as very happy and that she considers him a second son. Were very, very close, she said of the two families. Even closer than before.
The mother spoke after the University of Florida physicist, Ipser, testified that he used a computer simulation and live test subjects to recreate how a body would fall from a toilet like the one in the Kaufman household. His conclusion: the head, face and chin, not the neck, always hit the magazine rack just by the couples toilet.
Matthewman who had protested the decision to allow Ipsers testimony ripped into the physicist, saying his simulation was based on a limited myopic view.
Prosecutors concluded their case without calling the lead detective, Anthony Angulo, who has been much criticized by the defense attorneys as a rookie cop who bungled the case. A married female crime scene technician also admitted on the stand last week that she had an affair with Angulo.
The integrity of the police and crime scene investigation has been a point of attack by the defense.
On Thursday, Thomas Hill, a crime scene investigator hired by the defense, said he would have kept a crime scene log, and impounded certain evidence -- such as the magazines in the rack, bedding and the suspects clothes. Aventura police did not do that, according to court testimony.
Hill, who works at the Broward Sheriffs Office, also said he saw no signs of a struggle in photos of the bathroom where Kaufman is said to have collapsed.