Monday, September 23, 2019

Trial of two of the suspects in the Dan Markel murder begins today, and a remarkably forthright critique of Wendi Adelson and her family (UPDATED)

As Blog Emperor Caron reports, the trial of the suspected hitman and middlewoman in the Markel murder begins today, but even more remarkable is this piece by Professor Markel's friend Jason Solomon, titled "What Should Happen When Your Mom and Brother Murder Your Ex?," which, rightly indicts the awful behavior of Markel's ex-wife Wendi Adelson; an excerpt:

Since Dan’s death, his friends and family have watched and supported the prosecution of his killers, anxiously awaiting one of the conspirators to flip on Wendi’s mother Donna and brother Charlie so that justice can be done....


But there is another grave injustice in this tragic story. For the past three years, Dan’s ex-wife Wendi has denied Dan’s parents, Ruth and Phil Markel, the opportunity to visit and otherwise communicate with their grandkids. She has also changed their last names from Markel to her name, Adelson....


Wendi and Dan’s boys were robbed of the ability to grow up with a loving father. They deserve to know their paternal grandparents while they still can, to understand who they are and where they came from, to know they were not abandoned. We have seen in the immigration context the devastation that results when kids suddenly lose close family members without any explanation. Surely Wendi — an immigration advocate — knows this as well as anyone, and yet she separates families in her own life.


In the months ahead, Wendi and Dan’s boys — now 10 and 9 — are going to suffer a horrible tragedy all over again. They’re going to learn that Grandma Donna and Uncle Charlie — no doubt a big part of their lives right now — murdered their father. And when that happens, they’re going to need family: grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who they know love them and would never do anything to hurt them. They have such family on their father’s side — and even Wendi’s older brother Rob’s family on their mother’s — but they never see them.


When Ben and Lincoln find out about what Grandma Donna and Uncle Charlie did, they will no doubt cut them off, likely for the rest of their lives. Will they turn on their mother too? Trust me, teenage boys do that to parents in the best of circumstances. They’ll read and watch everything there is, and question whether Wendi was part of the murder plot too.


I personally believe that Wendi had nothing to do with Dan’s death, as explained here....

But her boys are likely to try to draw clues from how she has behaved since his death. She changed their names from Markel, and now she has kept them apart from their father’s family. What message does that send? What message does it send that since learning definitively (if there was any doubt) of her mother and brother’s involvement three years ago, she has kept the boys in the middle of the criminal dysfunction that is her family, instead of setting boundaries and distancing herself to give the boys the emotionally safe life they deserve? Regardless of what she knew before the murder, her actions afterward make her an active participant in the family’s horrific efforts to wipe out any trace of their father from the boys’ lives.


Wendi still has time to fix this injustice of separating Dan’s parents from her kids, and help her kids survive and thrive in the longer-term. Ruth and Phil Markel have suffered enough at the hands of the Adelson family, and the boys are about to suffer more. It’s long past time to let the Markels have a relationship with their grandkids, and for the boys to reconnect with their father’s family. Time is running short for Wendi to preserve her relationship with her boys: once they find out what happened, the die will have been cast.


So what should happen when your mother and brother murder your ex? You try to make up for it, as best you can. Wendi Adelson can do better.


Accusing innocent people so publicly of murder would be textbook per se defamation.  Will a civil suit be forthcoming?  We'll see.  Wendi Adelson, in any case, really is a disgraceful human being.

UPDATE:   Jason Solomon writes:

I just wanted to pass along a bit more context for you (and your readers, if you think worth sharing).


I wrote the piece to support and help explain a petition that nearly 800 people around the world, including several law professors, have now signed asking Wendi to allow Dan's parents to see their grandkids; it is available here if others want to sign.  


The claim that Wendi's mother Donna and brother Charlie murdered Dan is not particularly controversial; prosecutors have said this and laid out overwhelming evidence in support. They have not yet been charged, and OJ was acquitted. I'm not sure any of them should be described as "innocent people" whom we can't say, publicly or otherwise, committed murder.  Of course prosecutors are not always right, but besides the evidence, the only connection between one of the hitmen (Garcia) and Dan is that one of the co-defendants, Katie Magbanua, dated both Garcia and Charlie Adelson. Probably not a coincidence.


The former torts professor in me feels obligated to point out that though you're right that my statements would be considered defamation per se, that just means the Adelsons wouldn't have to prove that my statements actually harmed their reputation (as you may know).  They would still have to prove that my statements are both false, which they probably don't want to litigate, and were made negligently or recklessly, which would be difficult given that I'm just repeating the prosecution's theory of the case.

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