Margaret Rudin’s widely-televised trial begins in Las Vegas: Part 8

Pegged as the “Black Widow” of Las Vegas in the media, Margaret Rudin’s defense team struggled throughout her trial. Prosecutors argued she killed her husband for his estate.
8:15 | 02/20/21

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Transcript for Margaret Rudin’s widely-televised trial begins in Las Vegas: Part 8
When you think of Las Vegas you think of all that sizzle on the strip. Now it's all moved to the Clark county courthouse where Margaret Rudin is about to face trial for murder. March 2, 2001, it is time for the Rudin trial. Adding to the drama inside the courtroom, this trial would make its way into living rooms across America. It was put on cable television. Good morning and welcome to "Open court" here on court TV. I think this was the first trial to go gavel to gavel on court TV. State of Nevada vs. Margaret Rudin. The world is watching as this woman who has been on the run, accused of murder, is now sitting in the defendant's chair. I did not know the magnitude until trial started. There's a lot riding on the case, and I remember really feeling the weight of that case. I've never talked about the Margaret Rudin case. Is the state ready to proceed? Yes, your honor. They hand me the file and I says, this is going to be a tough one. In opening statements, the prosecution portrays Margaret to the jury as a ruthless, greedy woman who will do anything to get her husband's millions. The evidence will show at the time of Ronald Rudin's death, Margaret Rudin was a 60% beneficiary of that properties and assets that were in that trust. And in comes Michael amadore. All right, Mr. Amadore. In his opening statement, defense attorney Michael amadore raises a lot of eyebrows when he seems more intent on talking about himself rather than his I could be a wonderful, caring father, coaching soccer and basketball, and helping kids with homework, doing all those things. It was hours of rambling and talking about himself. This is a great day for M this is a culmination of a career. The purpose of an opening statement is just to indicate what the evidence is going to tend to show and not go into your personal beliefs and your passion and your soccer dad. I never heard that in an opening statement in my life. I remember minutes into the opening statement of the defense saying to my co-counsel, hey, give me a cigarette. This thing's over. And I don't smoke. Things started out bad, and they went to worse by the first day. Prosecutors lay out their case that Margaret shot Ron to death in their house. And experts testify that they found traces of Ron's blood spatter in the bedroom. The spatter that you saw in this case that you've described, was it consistent with what you've seen previously as well, with regard to gunshot wounds and high velocity spray? Yes, it is. The conclusions that were being drawn was because there was blood, therefore this had to be the place, but the place for what? What type of a scene was this? Suicide. Could you tell the jury where that was? In the bedroom. In the middle of the trial, this astounding revelation comes to light. When the jurors learn that Ron Rudin's third wife Peggy had actually shot herself in the head in that very bedroom. We found blood evidence of blood splatter. Well, that was contaminated by the suicide of Peggy Rudin. That really cut a different way than they wanted to. As for the murder weapon, the prosecution links the gun that was found at lake mead to Margaret, saying Ron had reported to the ATF that the gun went missing from his collection back in 1988, right at the time that Margaret was moving out of the house. A year into the marriage when they were having divorce problems. That gun had turned up missing about the time that he and Margaret had separated, and he believed that she had taken the gun. If she somehow is so clever she's kept this gun under lock and key, such that no one knows where it is, she brings it out right to the place it could be found. That's what you have to believe beyond a reasonable doubt. One of the major pieces that the state honed in on was a trunk. They claimed Margaret had stuffed the body in it somehow, took it out there, burned it. And now what they're trying to do is tie the trunk into Margaret Rudin. And to help make that connection, the prosecution calls Bruce honabach. He's an antiques dealer who claimed he sold a trunk to Margaret. Can you tell me when it was that you sold this particular trunk to Margaret Rudin? At the very beginning of our relationship. So late spring, early summer. Yes, sir. Of 1994? Investigators always believed Margaret had help transporting that trunk and they pointed the finger at her suspected paramour, yahuda Sharon. In what looks to be a major nail in the proverbial coffin of Margaret's case, yehuda Sharon is called to the stand as a prosecution witness. Yehuda. Okay, check this out. They told him, we're going to charge you with the same murder that we're charging her with. However, if you flip, we'll give you total immunity. Now, what's up with that? I know that I received immunity. From what, I have no idea. Did you kill Ron Rudin? No, I did not. Did you help kill Ron Rudin? No, I did not. Did you help dispose of his body? No, I did not. Did you go out to Nelson's landing in December of 1994? No, I did not. It still baffles me to this day. How do you give him immunity, and you don't know what he's going to testify to? No charges were ever brought against Sharon. It turns out that the attempt to get something out of yahuda Sharon just fizzled. The prosecution now puts a lot of its hopes on the next witness, Margaret's sister dona. Why is it that you've testified as you have today? Because it's the truth, because I felt it is what I had to do. Donna wasn't my friend. She never had been my friend. She's very difficult, and I don't trust her any further than I can throw her. Dona testified about how she helped Margaret take financial documents from Ron's desk. Donna's not finished. She tells the jury that the day after Ron went missing, Margaret said to her, you know, I talked to the police about Ron, in the past tense. I said, I hope that doesn't mean that you know something. And what did Margaret respond? She said, I don't give a . And the surprises and curveballs just keep coming. Early in the trial, Amador drops this bombshell. The problem here is not a lack of diligence on the part of myself or my staff, but insufficient time to fully prepare the entire case or the time and the funds to fully investigate and interview all of the witnesses. The issue is Margaret Rudin's right to a fair trial. Astoundingly, Michael Amador, the defense attorney, asks the judge to declare a mistrial. I will also be moving to withdraw as attorney of record on behalf of Margaret Rudin. Michael amadore wasn't who he said he was. One thing that I've learned over the years, you better have a voice, because you can't depend on somebody else. A trial is not a perfect thing. Mrs. Rudin has not been denied her rights under the constitution, based upon the foregoing, the motion for mistrial is denied. The closing act of this three-ring circus of a trial was yet to come. Tom pitaro takes over as lead defense attorney, and he pulls a stunt that will make jaws drop in the courtroom again. So you have to shoot here, bang, bang, either one or two times correct? Yes. Bang, bang. I sorta blew up on that.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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