Charlie Adelson's defense rests their case, closing arguments begin Monday

Posted at 9:09 AM, Nov 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-03 20:19:31-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — ABC 27's Kendall Brandt is in the courtroom for witness testimony in the trial of Charlie Adelson. He is accused of hiring hitmen to murder FSU Law professor Dan Markel in 2014 in his Betton Hills home during a custody dispute between Markel and Adelson's sister, Wendi. The state has also named Wendi and Donna Adelson, Charlie's mother, as un-indicted co-conspirator.

Click here for our coverage from when Adelson was arrested last year.

UPDATE 11/3/2023 11:45 A.M.

The defense rested their case in support of Charlie Adelson's acquittal.

The jury has been released for the weekend. Closing arguments will happen on Monday.

UPDATE 11/3/2023 11:35 A.M.

Defense attorney Dan Rashbaum took to the lectern to re-direct examine his client, accused murderer Charlie Adelson.

UPDATE 11/3/2023 11:02 A.M.

Prosecutor Georgia Cappleman entered her second hour of cross-examination of Adelson on his involvement in the murder of Dan Markel.

Cappleman asked Adelson why he did not attend the funeral of Dan Markel.

Adelson said the funeral was in Canada and was too far. Cappleman then noted that Markel had memorials in Tallahassee as well.

Adelson said he could not attend after knowing what happened to Markel.

That is part of his defense. He testified that Katherine Magbanua, one of the convicted murderers, extorted her by killing Markel as a threat to get money out of Adelson.

Adelson said he never came forward after the arrests of the three convicted murderers because he was scared someone from outside prison would hurt him or his family.

Cappleman asked if he is worried now.

"Now that I have spoken, I do have a concern," Adelson said.

Cappleman then moved on to play clips of the Dolce Vita clip. This is the conversation the FBI recorded that Magbanua and Adelson had a pizza restaurant in Miami in 2016.

In the recording, Adelson makes up a hypothetical about two men robbing a business. He said hypothetically, he would never be caught if he wasn't in the car or rented the vehicle.

Markel was killed by two hitmen that drove to Tallahassee from Miami in a rental car. Adelson said he was talking about the potential of the hitmen framing him and Magbanua for the murder.

UPDATE 11/3/2023 10:24 A.M.

Prosecutor Georgia Cappleman continued to press Adelson on his relationship with convicted murderer Katherine Magbanua.

She asked him why she was on the payroll of his dental practice, the Adelson Institute.

"She was doing some kind of cleaning up for you, wasn't she?" Cappleman asked Adelson.

UPDATE 11/3/2023 9:52 A.M.

Cappleman just referred to Adelson's alleged extortion by Magbanua as a "layaway plan."

She is talking about the $3,000 that Adelson paid to Magbanua every month. Adelson said it was payment for an extortion.

The defendant testified that he did not think Magbanua was involved at the time of the extortion and was trying to protect him from gang members demanding the money.

Cappleman asked why Adelson never came forward to police or to testify in Magbanua's trial.

"I thought the truth would come out," Adelson said.

"But, not from you?" Cappleman questioned.

The prosecutor continued to press Adelson on why he was so friendly and borderline romantic with Magbanua when she was extorting him.

He said he did not know she was behind it at the time.

"Most people don't send kissy faces to people that are extorting them," Cappleman said.

"She wasn't extorting me at the time," Adelson said.

Cappleman then corrected him to say he is alleging she extorted him at the time. Adelson said he meant he did not know at the time she was involved.

UPDATE 11/3/2023 9:11 A.M.

The cross-examination of accused murderer Charlie Adelson began around 9:10 a.m. Friday.

Prosecutor Georgia Cappleman started by asking Adelson if he thought his testimony was complicated.

"There are just so many explanations," Cappleman said.

"There are no explanations," Adelson said. "I explained what happened."

Adelson took the stand for the second day in a row Friday morning in his own defense in his murder trial.

Adelson is accused of orchestrating the death of FSU Law Professor Dan Markel. The prosecution says he hired hitmen through his girlfriend at the time to murder his ex-brother-in-law.

The defendant claims he was being extorted by one of the convicted murderers, Katherine Magbanua.

He said she killed Markel to threaten Adelson out of money.

"It's scary as hell to thing you're one signature away from losing your life," Adelson said on the stand today.