Attrition warfare in the Dan Markel case — Charlie Adelson’s lawyer foreshadows longer trial

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'In a war of attrition, morale is the key armor.'

There’s a military strategy, largely considered a dirty tactic, where the likely losing party attempts to win by wearing down their opponent until collapse.

This approach — “attrition warfare” — is generally considered a last resort, as it doesn’t deliver a decisive blow and, according to one description, only leaves the door open for “losers to believe they can win the next time.”

That’s what accused murderer Charlie Adelson and his lawyer Daniel Rashbaum seem to be hoping for as they head toward his fall trial in the hired killing of Charlie’s former brother-in-law, FSU law professor Dan Markel: exhaust the system, “win” a mistrial, and get another chance at acquittal down the road.

In today’s (Aug. 25) case management hearing, Rashbaum told Judge Robert Wheeler that his team anticipates a more extended trial than the scheduled two weeks.

“Our case could be lengthy and could go a week, five to six days of testimony,” Rashbaum said, noting that this would bring the trial out several days from its current Nov. 9 closing. Jury selection will begin on Monday, Oct. 23, with opening statements and the state’s case likely to begin that Friday or the following Monday.

Wheeler conceded that this is “a timeline we’ll try to stick by” but that the court will “do what needs to be done” to allow the defense adequate time for its witnesses.

What does more time mean for Charlie? Or rather, what does Rashbaum hope more time might mean for the team of prosecutors trying the case and the 12 jurors who will pause their lives to fulfill this civic duty?

More time with a jury spells mental fatigue and more chances to introduce various threads of doubt about Charlie’s guilt. To this end, Rashbaum previously forecast what he claims will be a far more interesting trial than the previous two in this case, in which explosive, “crazy” truths may come to light.

But the state’s theory of the case has already been successfully tried twice: first, in the conviction of hit man Sigfredo Garcia, and then, in the conviction of Katherine Magbanua, who acted as an intermediary between Garcia (the father of her children) and members of the Adelson family who hired them.

Beyond these convictions and life sentences, both Magbanua and accomplice Luis Rivera have turned state witness, with the testimony we’ve heard to date affirming a dreadful truth: Charlie masterminded the murder along with his sister, Wendi Adelson, and mother, Donna Adelson, so that Wendi could relocate to South Florida with the Markel boys, change their last names, restart her life with proceeds from Dan’s life insurance, and relieve herself of the inconvenience of an ex-husband who sought to hold her accountable to the terms of their marital settlement agreement.

Indeed, Markel had become quite inconvenient to Wendi and her parents. In the year before his murder, Markel uncovered what he believed to be financial misdoings by Wendi that could have led to devastating professional consequences for her and had initiated a legal process to limit unsupervised access by Donna to his boys following her unyielding disparagement of him to them. The motive in this murder is clear, matched by extraordinary evidence that Charlie took action to fulfill his mother’s and sister’s wishes.

Rashbaum, seeing this uphill battle, may consider their best chance at a win to be time: more days in front of jurors to humanize his client, more witnesses (yet to be listed) to suggest alternative theories of who commissioned this crime and more opportunity for at least one of the jurors to develop the Stockholm syndrome-like state of mind that so many within Charlie’s orbit have displayed.

“In a war of attrition, morale is the key armor,” said Karen Cyphers, who represents the grassroots group Justice for Dan and provides courtroom coverage of this case for Florida Politics. “It seems Charlie may underestimate the fortitude and stamina of Tallahassee prosecutors and jurors. Whether Rashbaum gets two or three weeks in front of a jury, the truth will withstand delusion.”


Florida Politics provides ongoing coverage of the Markel murder case, which is drawing international media attention to Florida’s capital city. Our reporting draws from sources including contributor Cyphers of Sachs Media, who, with attorney Jason Solomon, advocates with the grassroots group “Justice for Dan” to draw attention to the case and provide analysis relevant to Florida’s political, advocacy and legal communities.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


  • Jeremy Porter

    August 25, 2023 at 12:33 pm

    Again had Dan Markel been a Black man the “White Progressives” who run Tallahassee, would have had this case neatly packaged up and swept under the rug of history less than 12 months after The Professor was laid to rest. Sherriff Larry Campbell’s son still trying for that big show National Attention case. But he just cant seem to get there.

  • Timothy Fidler

    August 25, 2023 at 1:58 pm

    Peter, I think Rashb may have two cards up his proverbial.

    1. He may bring in a plethora of Headshrinkers to prove Chucky has an Oedipus complex !! or worse. It’s a classic case… if he can show Chuck was manipulated by Imma Donna then he does not have free will and a reduced sentence or no sentence may be asked for. Cmt II I wills send separately.

  • Timothy Fidler

    August 25, 2023 at 2:04 pm

    2. Other option is based on the guess that Georgia C has a hell of a lot of phone evidence from the night of the 18th where as I put elsewhere – “Goblins and Witches abounded”. That’s to say there are some orphaned ATandT handsets in the mix and there may be evidence that Donna did a covering exercise for CJA. I don’t have the inside running on this but I do know about the two handsets.

    So it could come down to a clash of experts as to how closely you can locate a 4G tower to a user yat yata yata….Remember this was all a 4G system in Miami back then. all will now have been demolished – are the new towers in the same places – what was the true RF footprint of the old towers …. it goes on and on. You can see why Donna paid T Kawass so much money to delay delay delay on those first trials.. I do believe there was a continuance so she could grieve for a dead poodle or something lie that.. it was lie after lie from her and deCoste about previous illness yat ayata yata … made me want to heave up my breakfast. it did.

  • PM

    August 28, 2023 at 6:59 am

    You’ve hyperlinked to a gated FB link that I can’t see, but I’d just say that you should choose your words carefully, Mr. Schorsch. Which I’m sure you have, given your profession. “…affirming a dreadful truth: Charlie masterminded the murder along with his sister, Wendi Adelson, and mother, Donna Adelson”

    I’m sure Wendi would read those words and take serious issue with them as truths, regardless of whatever actually transpired. But maybe Truths mean something different in FL than they mean to the read of us?

Comments are closed.


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