Donna Adelson’s first case administration listening to happened Monday morning, simply over two months after she was arrested for the July 2014 homicide of her former son-in-law, FSU regulation professor Dan Markel, whereas making an attempt to flee on a one-way flight to Vietnam. Her legal professional, Dan Rashbaum, and Assistant State Lawyer Sarah Kathryn Dugan met earlier than Choose Stephen Everett, whereas Adelson appeared from Leon County Jail by Zoom.

On the time of his homicide, Markel and Adelson’s daughter, Wendi Adelson, have been locked in acrimonious divorce litigation relating to the placement and supervision of their two younger sons, and her mom was deeply woven into these conflicts. Adelson was determined for Wendi to stay in Miami even after the court docket denied her try at relocation, and it was Adelson who was caught disparaging Markel to his kids.

A lawful decision of the latter difficulty by no means occurred as a result of Markel was killed by hit males who have been allegedly paid by Mrs. Adelson and her son, Charlie Adelson, earlier than Markel’s motions have been heard in court docket.

At this time’s listening to, nevertheless, wasn’t targeted on the information of the case however quite on her lawyer.

Rashbaum had represented Adelson and her husband, Harvey, for years, co-signing the notorious August 2016 “fanciful fiction” letter that proclaimed the household’s innocence. He signed this alongside a number of attorneys representing different family members who had been named as co-conspirators to the murder David Oscar Markus and Michael Weinstein signed on behalf of Charlie Adelson, and John Lauro signed on behalf of Wendi. The oldest Adelson son, Robert, didn’t want a lawyer — he was uninvolved within the conspiracy and cooperated with regulation enforcement from the beginning.

However shortly after his 2022 arrest, Markus and Adelson broke ties, and Rashbaum transitioned over to defending Charlie. Rashbaum led Charlie Adelson’s (bizarre) defense via his November 2023 trial, which ended with Charlie Adelson’s conviction for first-degree murder, and a life sentence with out probability for parole plus 60 years for conspiracy and solicitation.

On the time of Donna Adelson’s arrest, she was represented by protection legal professional Marissel Descalzo. Nonetheless, it was clear from recorded jail calls that Rashbaum continued to advise each mom and son extensively via trial and past. After which after Descalzo appeared with Donna Adelson for a feisty arraignment hearing, Rashbaum rapidly pivoted again to representing the Adelson matriarch. A couple of weeks after that, Rashbaum added Tallahassee protection legal professional Alex Morris to their crew.

Rashbaum shared in a recent interview the fondness he feels for her, describing her as “the nicest consumer” he’s ever had, and as a girl who reminds him of his personal mom. Rashbaum’s additionally advised Surviving the Survivor host Joel Waldman that he wouldn’t go to the police if he or his youngster have been the sufferer of a lethal extortion risk — a place he concedes most likely locations him “within the minority,” if that’s to be believed in any respect. Rashbaum additionally answered that he was ingesting both “a Coke or a Pepsi” whereas on air — somewhat weird to not know which, or maybe a spontaneous try to keep away from saying “it’s truly simply whiskey.”

However that’s not what Everett had on his thoughts Monday morning. Somewhat, the decide needed Donna Adelson to be clear concerning the potential for conflicts in having shared a lawyer along with her son.

Everett needed to verify Adelson was totally conscious she is constitutionally entitled to “conflict-free counsel” for illustration. She indicated she was conscious of this.

Additional, Everett reminded Adelson this battle is “waivable” — which means Donna and Charlie can every present Rashbaum with permission to symbolize the opposite celebration, with recognition of potential points that may come up. For instance, if certainly one of them have been ever to need to cooperate with authorities towards the opposite, Rashbaum could be required to withdraw as a result of legal professionals can’t act towards the curiosity of even former shoppers with out their consent. Donna Adelson understood and affirmed she needed Rashbaum as her counsel.

No questions have been requested relating to any joint protection agreements or communications with or via Wendi Adelson’s lawyer, John Lauro — though current jail calls between mom and son counsel that inter-attorney discussions are the only way Wendi wishes to communicate about the case with her family members.

Lastly, Everett requested about protection and prosecution plans for scheduling a trial. Rashbaum indicated they’re in lively conversations about discovering a date, which might be settled by the subsequent case administration listening to, set for Feb. 12, 2024, at 2:30 p.m.


Florida Politics gives ongoing protection of the Markel homicide case, which is drawing worldwide media consideration to Florida’s capital metropolis. Our reporting attracts from sources together with contributor Karen Cyphers of Sachs Media, who advocates with the grassroots group “Justice for Dan” to attract consideration to the case and supply evaluation related to Florida’s political, advocacy and authorized communities.

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