We’ve learned while covering the Dan Markel murder trials that when a case management hearing sets a trial date, it’s more of a suggestion than set in stone. Katherine Magbanua’s attorneys had secured what felt like endless delays, moving the goal post again and again until her conviction was finally secured.
So when reporting now that Charlie Adelson’s trial date has been set for April 24, it’s with the expectation in mind that one thing or another may ultimately kick that ball down an infinitely long field.
Friday’s 11 a.m. case management hearing itself had been delayed for a few weeks, with the request to postpone from Adelson’s lawyer Daniel Rashbaum coming in right after it was announced that Magbanua turned state witness and was transported to Tallahassee to give a proffer. Rashbaum had also suffered a broken ankle and elbow, but for a 10-minute hearing, a Zoom session may have sufficed.
But, for now, Rashbaum and Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman, are in agreement to begin jury selection on that day, with the first day of trial likely on May 1. They’re setting aside four weeks in total.
Charlie is the brother of Wendi Adelson, Markel’s ex-wife, who herself has been named by the state as a co-conspirator in the murder plot. Magbanua — the middlewoman between members of the Adelson family and the hitmen who carried out the act — was last seen beaming in a mugshot from Leon County jail, where she was transported in late November to give her proffer.
“Katie’s November mugshot is the first we’ve seen since her arrest in 2016 where she smiled,” said Karen Cyphers, who represents Justice for Dan and provides case coverage to Florida Politics. “Maybe it’s the look of relief from finally telling the truth, and we hope that her cooperation will contribute to the arrests and convictions of all responsible for Dan’s murder.”
While insiders are tight-lipped about what Magbanua’s proffer yielded, she has remained in Tallahassee since her confession. There’s no use in speculating about what will come of her cooperation, either — the only people who would really know what to expect are keeping their eyes on the ball — doing precisely what they owe to the rest of us.
Judge Robert Wheeler said that a case management hearing will occur late February, with all motions due 30 days ahead of trial. The collegiality between Rashbaum, Cappleman and Assistant State Attorney Sarah Kathryn Dugan, is notable.
“The prison has been terrific, they’ve been very accommodating,” Rashbaum told the court, adding, “the government has also been terrific in getting us discovery.”
No lobster for Charlie at the Leon County Jail, though, Rashbaum conceded to a group of reporters outside the courtroom — which is probably disappointing to the self-proclaimed “Maestro” — but still, he’s being treated well behind bars.
“This is a crazy case,” Rashbaum, a prosecutor-turned-defense attorney, said, “There’s none like it.”