Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Does Judge's Delay Of Charlie Adelson's Trial In Dan Markel Murder And Refusal To Unseal Katie Magbanua's Proffer Mean State May Be Closing In On Donna, Harvey & Wendi?

Florida Politics, Trial Delayed; Proffer Stays Sealed: Paradoxical Evidence That Justice Is Afoot in Dan Markel Murder Case:

Adelson FamilyJudge Robert Wheeler made two rulings this morning that on the surface may frustrate the growing universe of people who wait for resolution in the murder of Dan Markel.

But it could, in fact, indicate more progress is being made than meets the eye. ...

Wheeler was presented with two big decisions, and his rulings are telling.

First, a continuance

Charlie’s trial, previously scheduled for April, will be continued until this Summer or Fall.

This comes after Charlie’s lawyer, Daniel Rashbaum, argued the massive amount of evidence before them can’t be thoroughly processed or investigated by April. ... In his February 2023 motion to continue, Rashbaum wrote that in the 10 months since joining Charlie’s defense, the state provided his team “more than 70 depositions, dozens of government interviews and reports, over a thousand telephonic conversations captured on wires (many in Spanish), video recordings of several in-person encounters, and voluminous data files comprised of call detail records, emails, text messages, WhatsApp chats, social media postings, bank records and other financial documents.”

This carefully worded statement raised questions among case watchers. For example, some cautiously speculate the mention of WhatsApp means conversations between conspirators, previously unrecoverable, have been brought to light. ...

In this case, proffers stay sealed

At some point between November 2022 and February 2023, it appears Magbanua provided at least two proffers to the state, spelling out her own involvement in Markel’s killing and that of other parties involved.

We don’t know what she said, of course, because the contents of these proffers are sealed. ... 

WCTV and Court TV filed their own motion, asking the Court to release the proffers on the grounds that the public is statutorily entitled to the information unless its release could impede the execution of justice.

In general, proffers are considered public records once they’re provided in discovery to defense attorneys. However, there are a few circumstances in which they may remain sealed, such as if doing so would prevent the fair administration of justice against this defendant, or prevent other guilty parties from being brought to justice.

It appears that may very well be the case.

Wheeler ruled Magbanua’s confessions will remain outside of the public’s view until either Magbanua testifies at trial, or the end of trial, citing his belief that releasing the interviews could present a “serious and imminent threat” to Charlie’s right to a fair trial.

Does this mean that Magbanua provided testimony against Donna, Wendi or Harvey? Does it mean that she offered investigators a way to corroborate such claims? Did she offer insight as to how Charlie knew details about Markel’s schedule or Wendi’s odd behavior on the day of his murder?

We won’t know the answers (yet) but can say with some confidence that there’s enough there to justify the act of sealing.

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