Charlie Adelson, the Fort Lauderdale attorney accused of arranging the 2014 hit on Tallahassee law professor Dan Markel, will take the witness stand this morning, testifying in his own defense that he was being extorted by the killers and was not involved with the murder.
After a bruising day Wednesday, in which the state played wire taps of Adelson, his family and other conspirators talking about an FBI agent who posed as a blackmailer and tried to shake the Adelson family down for $5,000, he announced he would in fact testify.
His decision to take the stand — a potentially perilous move for any defendant — means he will tell his story publicly for the first time since Markel was shot on July 18, 2014, in the garage of his Trescott Drive home. He will no doubt face a scorching cross-examination by prosecutors who have long pursued him.
Adelson is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy and solicitation in the killing of Markel, then a 41-year-old attorney and legal scholar at Florida State University. Prosecutors contend that Markel, who was married to Adelson’s sister, Wendi Adelson, before she divorce him in 2012, was murdered because the Adelson family wanted her to return to Miami with the two kids she shared with him.
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Charlie Adelson takes the stand to testify
The defense called their final witness on the morning of the sixth day of trial — Charlie Adelson.
“Charlie, let’s start with the most important question: Did you cause the death of Dan Markel?” Danial Rashbaum, his attorney, asked.
“Absolutely not,” Charlie Adelson said.
Rashbaum then asked him how he was feeling.
“Really nervous . . . my whole life depends on this,” Adelson answered.
Chronicling the case:
The Tallahassee Democrat will livestream each day of the trial of Charlie Adelson from the courthouse in Tallahassee. Watch on Tallahassee.com and the Tallahassee Democrat’s Facebook and YouTube pages. For best viewing experience: Download the Tallahassee Democrat app to watch and receive text alerts on when to watch – from opening arguments to the verdict.
This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Watch live as Charlie Adelson testifies about Dan Markel murder