Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Magbanua’s Attorneys Chide Prosecutors' Fishing Expedition To Determine Who Is Paying Her Attorneys' Fees In Markel Murder Case
Tallahassee Democrat, Magbanua's Attorneys: State on a 'Fishing Expedition':
Katherine Magbanua’s attorneys say prosecutors are on a fishing expedition to figure out who is paying her legal fees.
Last month, Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman set out to figure out whether the former in-laws of slain Florida State University law professor Dan Markel were paying for two Miami lawyers defending Magbanua, who is suspected of being the conduit in the murder-for-hire plot.
Cappleman said the money trail leads to co-conspirators in the case. But in a Friday court filing, Magbanua’s attorneys Tara Kawass and Christopher DeCoste say prosecutors are doing so on the basis of “conjecture rather than proof.” They want Leon Circuit Court Judge James Hankinson to deny the request. A case management conference is scheduled for May 1. ...
Having the Adelsons pay Magbanua’s legal fees could present a conflict of interest for her attorneys. “The state has failed to set forth any facts that make it ‘sufficiently apparent’ that the possibility of a conflict exists,” Kawass and DeCoste wrote. “(They) assume that the members of the Adelson family, none of whom have been arrested or charged in association with this case, are financing Ms. Magbanua’s legal fees, but does so without mere conjecture rather than proof.”
Cappleman asserted that without gainful employment, it would be impossible for Magbanua to pay for her attorneys. She cited the 33-year-old’s 2014 and 2015 income – which investigators say was supplemented by payment for the murder – would not be enough to fund her defense.
Magbanua's attorneys, however, say the prosecution should not be granted access to who pays her legal bill based on "mere speculation." Doing so, they argue, could set a precedent for disclosing such information in any case. It "defies legal standards," their motion says, "but will also give the prosecution the leeway to engage in bad faith 'fishing expeditions' to obtain information to which they are not legally entitled."
People Magazine, 5 Things to Know About the Mysterious Shooting of Popular Florida Law Professor Dan Markel:
- Ex-Wife Introduced the Idea of Her Family’s Involvement
- Police: Family Conflict Allegedly ‘Motive for This Murder’
- Records Connect Murder Suspects to Ex-Wife’s Family
- Police Claim Money Also Connects Magbanua to the Adelsons
- Ex-Wife Discussed the Suspicion About Her — ‘Because It’s Usually the Ex-Wife’
People Magazine, Did a Divorce Fight Over Children Lead to Florida Professor’s Execution-Style Slaying?:
In the aftermath of a 2012 divorce filing that blindsided him, Florida State University law professor Dan Markel tried to stay amicable with his ex-wife, fellow law professor Wendi Adelson, and focus on their two young sons, his friends say.
“He was annoyed that her family was meddling — he thought — in the divorce,” colleague and law professor Fernando Tesón tells PEOPLE. “But I never sensed he was fearful.”
It turns out he may have had reason to be.
His ongoing conflicts with Adelson over child custody abruptly ended on July 18, 2014, when police answered a 911 call just after 11 a.m. to find him shot point-blank in the head.
Markel was found dead still sitting in his Honda Accord in the garage of his home in suburban Tallahassee, Florida, hours after dropping off his kids at day care.
Police said he was targeted. He died the following day. ...
As the investigation continues, Markel’s friends are waiting to see where the case’s questions and answers may lead. “I just want to have them confirmed,” law professor Douglas A. Berman tells PEOPLE, “so I can feel some comfort.”
Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:
- Man Arrested In Murder Of Dan Markel (May 26, 2016)
- Dan Markel Killing Investigated As Murder for Hire, 5-6 More Arrests Expected (May 26, 2016)
- Update On Murder-For-Hire Investigation Into Dan Markel's Death (May 31, 2016)
- Police: Dan Markel Was Killed In Murder-For-Hire Plot Orchestrated By Ex-Wife's Brother (June 2, 2016)
- Anatomy Of The Hit On Dan Markel (June 4, 2016)
- Update On Murder-For-Hire Investigation Into Dan Markel's Death (June 6, 2016)
- Wendi Adelson Discusses Her Ex-Husband Dan Markel's Murder: Transcript And Commentary (June 8, 2016)
- Dan Markel's Law Prof Colleagues Finger Ex-Wife's Family In Murder-For-Hire Killing (June 10, 2016)
- Update On Murder-For-Hire Investigation Into Dan Markel's Death (June 13, 2016)
- Grand Jury Indicts Two Hit Men In Dan Markel's Murder, State Attorney Expects More Indictments; Girlfriend Of Ex-Brother-in-Law Denies Ex-Wife's Family's Involvement (June 18, 2016)
- Update On Murder-For-Hire Investigation Into Dan Markel's Death: In Defense Of Charlie Adelson (June 21, 2016)
- Update On Murder-For-Hire Investigation Into Dan Markel's Death: Hit Men Thwarted In Previous Attempt To Kill FSU Law Prof (June 27, 2016)
- Update On Murder-For-Hire Investigation Into Dan Markel's Death: Charlie Adelson Denies 'Any Involvement' (July 3, 2016)
- Lawyer Denies Adelson Family's Involvement In Dan Markel's Murder, Fingers Florida State Law Students, PrawfsBlawg Readers As Possible Suspects (July 18, 2016)
- Today Marks Two Year Anniversary Of Dan Markel's Murder (July 18, 2016)
- The Adelson Family (Through Their Attorneys) Deny Any Involvement In Dan Markel's Murder (Aug. 3, 2016)
- Prosecutors Seek Records Showing Wendi Adelson's Brother Paid For Breast Enhancement Surgery For Mother Of Hit Man's Children After Dan Markel's Murder (Aug. 20, 2016)
- Judge In Dan Markel Murder Case Approves Subpoena To See If Wendi Adelson's Brother Paid For Breast Implants For Mother Of Hit Man's Children (Aug. 23, 2016)
- Police Video Released Of Wendi Adelson Being Told Of Dan Markel's Murder, Says Her Brother Joked About Hiring A Hit Man (Aug. 27, 2016)
- FBI Interview With Ex-Girlfriend Of Dan Markel's Ex-Brother-in-Law/Mother Of Hit Man's Children (Aug. 28, 2016)
- Adelson Family Will Not Be Charged In Dan Markel's Murder Despite Circumstantial Evidence Released By Police (Including $1 Million Offer To Allow Children To Move To Miami, Communication And Money Trail To Hit Men) (Sept. 9, 2016)
- Police Reach Out To Feds As Tensions Flare With Prosecutor Over Decision Not To Charge Adelson Family In Markel Murder; Ex-Brother-in-Law Discussed Killing Undercover Agent (Sept. 10, 2016)
- ABC News To Feature Dan Markel Murder Case On Friday's 20/20 Program (Sept. 14, 2016)
- Last Night's ABC News 20/20 Program On The Dan Markel Murder: In-Laws & Outlaws (Sept. 17, 2016)
- Judge Denies Change Of Venue In Trial Of Markel's Alleged Hit Man; Defense Seeks Testimony Of Other Possible Perpetrators (Sept. 29, 2016)
- Katherine Magbanua (Mother Of Hit Man's Children, Worker In Adelson Dental Practice, Girlfriend Of Charlie Adelson) Charged With Murder of Dan Markel (Oct. 2, 2016)
- More On Katherine Magbanua's Arrest In Dan Markel's Murder (Oct. 3, 2016)
- Plea Deal For Hit Man In Dan Markel Murder (Oct. 4, 2016)
- Prosecutors Zero In On Adelson Family After Plea Deal With Hit Man, Arrest Of Accomplice In Markel Murder(Oct. 5, 2016)
- Hit Man Implicates Wendi Adelson In Dan Markel's Murder (Oct. 11, 2016)
- Update: Hit Man Implicates Wendi Adelson In Dan Markel's Murder (Oct. 12, 2016)
- Wendi Adelson's Attorney Questions Credibility Of Hit Man's Statement Implicating Ex-Wife In Dan Markel's Murder (Oct. 13, 2016)
- Dan Markel's Parents Discuss With Prosecutors Emergency Placement Of Their Grandchildren Upon Forthcoming Arrests Of Adelsons (Oct. 14, 2016)
- Update On Dan Markel Murder Investigation (Oct. 15, 2016)
- More Details Emerge Linking Adelson Family To Dan Markel's Murder (Oct. 18, 2016)
- What Wendi Adelson's Novel Reveals About Dan Markel's Murder (Oct. 19, 2016)
- The Dan Markel Murder Investigation: Why Was Katherine Magbanua's First Degree Murder Charge Reduced To Second Degree Murder? (Oct. 25, 2016)
- CrimeStoppers Reduces Reward For Tips In Dan Markel Murder Investigation From $25k To $3k (Oct. 26, 2016)
- Wendi Adelson's Novel: Art Imitating Life? (Oct. 27, 2016)
- Experts Expect Charlie And Donna Adelson To Be Charged In Dan Markel's Murder (Oct. 30, 2016)
- The Dan Markel Murder: Fascinating Details About The Adelson Family Dynamics (Nov. 4, 2016)
- The Dan Markel Murder Case: Who Is (Or Was) Paying The Killers' Attorneys' Fees? (Nov. 13, 2016)
- Prosecutors To Seek First Degree Murder Charge Today Against Katherine Magbanua In Grand Jury Proceedings In Dan Markel's Murder (Nov. 29, 2016)
- Grand Jury Charges Katherine Magbanua With First Degree Murder In Killing Of Dan Markel (Nov. 30, 2016)
- Katherine Magbanua Pleads Not Guilty To First Degree Murder In Killing Of Dan Markel, Trial Set For February; Prosecutors Still Hope She Will Implicate Adelsons (Dec. 7, 2016)
- Judge Denies Bond For Katherine Magbanua, Charged With First Degree Murder In Killing Of Dan Markel (Dec. 11, 2016)
- Does The Prosecution Believe (And Can It Prove) That Wendi Adelson (And Not Charlie Or Donna) Hired Katherine Magbanua And Sigfredo Garcia To Kill Dan Markel? (Dec. 14, 2016)
- 'The Prosecution Does Not Believe That Wendi Ordered The Hit' On Dan Markel (Dec. 17, 2016)
- Wendi Adelson's Lawyer Lists Seven Reasons That 'Conclusively Establish Her Innocence' In Dan Markel's Murder — And Monitors Web Comments That May Give Rise To Defamation Actions Against Those Proclaiming Her Guilt (Dec. 20, 2016)
- Tallahassee Crimes Of The Year: The Murder Of Dan Markel (Dec. 29, 2016)
- Katherine Magbanua's Murder Trial In Killing Of Dan Markel Is Delayed As Two Inmates Say Alleged Hit Man Sigfredo Garcia Implicated Charlie And Donna Adelson (Feb. 7, 2017)
- Two Prison Inmates Provide Link To Adelsons In Dan Markel's Murder (Feb. 15, 2017)
- Lawyers For Adelsons, Magbanua Attack Prosecution's Case Against Their Clients In Dan Markel Murder (Feb. 22, 2017):
Don't the Rules specifically allow third parties to pay lawyer fees as long as the attorney keeps client confidentiality?
Even if there is a conflict, what does that have to do with the prosecution or judge in this case? Shouldn't it be raised with the state's bar disciplinary committee?
Posted by: brad | Mar 29, 2017 12:35:33 PM
An interesting problem. Surely it should be ok for someone to choose between no attorney, a public defense attorney, and an expensive attorney paid for by someone with an ulterior motive. One way to remove the conflict would be to require the third-party payor to pay in advance for a substantial part of the fees. I've heard the defense attorneys require payment in advance ordinarily anyway, since their clients aren't always trustworthy.
Posted by: Eric Rasmusen | Mar 28, 2017 6:19:01 AM
No clue what the law is.
If the defense attorneys are actually working for the Adelson's, this may explain why a plea agreement hasn't yet been concluded.
Posted by: Art Deco | Mar 31, 2017 11:06:56 PM