Criminal Justice

'Rising Star' in NJ Bar Charged in Hit-and-Run; Legal Assistant Initially Took the Blame for Crash

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For the past four years, New Jersey criminal defense lawyer John Koufos has been named a “rising star” by Super Lawyers magazine. And the New Jersey Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division recently gave him a professional achievement award.

But the young lawyer has since been brought down to earth on charges that he seriously injured a teenager in a hit-and-run accident on the Jersey Shore earlier this month and tried to get one of his employees to take the blame.

Koufos, 34, surrendered to authorities Friday on charges of knowingly leaving the scene of an accident with injuries, aggravated assault, hindering a police investigation and witness tampering, according to the Asbury Park Press.

The defense lawyer-turned-defendant, whose firm has offices in Long Branch and New Brunswick, is accused of hitting a vacationing 17-year-old Pennsylvania youth as he walked along a road with friends June 17 in Toms River.

Koufos is also accused of trying to get an employee, who initially claimed to have been driving Koufos’ car at the time of the accident, to take the rap for him.

A judge set Koufos’ bail at $150,000.

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