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Alex Murdaugh faces court to plead guilty to stealing millions from clients

Murdaugh pleads guilty to a crime for the first time and Netflix releases season 2 of ‘Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal’

Rachel Sharp,Oliver O'Connell
Friday 22 September 2023 10:20 EDT

Murdaugh Murders on Netflix trailer

Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh has reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors on a string of financial fraud charges – admitting that he stole millions of dollars from law firm clients.

Following Monday’s agreement with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to 22 federal charges including wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering.

His appearance in court on Thursday morning marked the first time he has ever admitted to a crime.

This comes as the new series of Netflix’s Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal was released on Wednesday, revealing Curtis Eddie Smith – Murdaugh’s alleged co-conspirator in the bizarre hitman plot – making a bombshell claim.

When he asked Murdaugh why he wanted him to fatally shoot him, Mr Smith claims he told him: “Because they’re going to be able to prove that I’m responsible for Maggie and Paul.”

The show also hears from Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill – who is now at the centre of jury tampering accusations brought by Murdaugh’s attorneys in their bid for a new murder trial.

Murdaugh claims that Ms Hill advised the panel not to be “fooled by” Murdaugh’s testimony on the stand or “misled” by the defence’s evidence, pushed them to reach a quick guilty verdict, and misrepresented “critical and material information to the trial judge in her campaign to remove a juror she believed to be favorable to the defense”.

A random Georgia man’s now-deleted Facebook rant about his wife’s aunt is at the centre of the bid.

On Thursday, attorneys for the convicted killer filed a new motion in which they accused the South Carolina Attorney General’s office of acting in “bad faith” in the state’s response to Murdaugh’s bid for a new trial.

“The State unfortunately has chosen to respond in bad faith to these serious allegations,” write attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin.

“[The state] wants Mr Murdaugh to spend weeks jumping through preposterous procedural hoops invented only for him.”


How ‘Egg Juror’ came to be at heart of Murdaugh’s bid for new trial

Juror number 785 remains something of a mystery.

She has never gone public with her identity and has never broken her silence by speaking to the press.

But, the mystery juror has caused quite a stir in the so-called “trial of the century”.

Juror number 785 first hit headlines back in March when she was ousted from Alex Murdaugh’s high-profile double-murder trial just hours before deliberations began.

After sitting through six weeks of graphic testimony about the slayings of Murdaugh’s wife Maggie and son Paul, Judge Clifton Newman dismissed the juror for apparently speaking about the case to at least three people.

If her dismissal wasn’t enough to shock the nation glued to the notorious trial, the juror also gained infamy due to a comedic moment where she asked to retrieve a dozen eggs from the jury room.

After that, juror 785 earned a new alias as the “egg juror”.


Key revelations from the bombshell Alex Murdaugh murder trial

Alex Murdaugh is serving two life sentences after being convicted of the murders of his wife and son. Rachel Sharp explains the most crucial moments in his high-profile trial in South Carolina

Oliver O'Connell21 September 2023 07:30

Revealed: Murdaugh’s bombshell confession before infamous botched hitman plot

Curtis “Cousin Eddie” Smith has claimed that Alex Murdaugh made a bombshell confession about his wife and son’s murders before orchestrating the now-infamous botched hitman plot.

Mr Smith – a former law firm client, distant cousin and alleged drug dealer of Murdaugh – is facing a string of charges over the 4 September 2021 incident where he allegedly shot the double murderer in the head along the side of a road in Hampton County.

Now, in the new series of Netflix’s “Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal”, released on Wednesday, the 62-year-old revealed never-before-heard details about the bizarre encounter.

Rachel Sharp has the story.

Alex Murdaugh’s bombshell confession before infamous botched hitman plot revealed

Curtis ‘Cousin Eddie’ Smith revealed never-before-heard details about the bizarre roadside shooting in the new series of Netflix’s ‘Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal’

Oliver O'Connell21 September 2023 08:30

As he faced charges for deadly crash, Paul Murdaugh hosted booze-fueled boat party just before his murder

Paul Murdaugh was pulled over by police for hosting a booze-fuelled boat party just days before he was brutally murdered by his father – and at a time when he was awaiting trial over a 2019 deadly boat wreck.

In the new series of Netflix’s “Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal”, released on Wednesday, housekeeper and family friend Blanca Turrubiate-Simpson revealed that the 22-year-old had a fresh brush with the law in the run-up to the 7 June 2021 murders.

His father Alex Murdaugh was said to be taking care of the matter.

The incident took place around a week before Memorial Day weekend when Ms Turrubiate-Simpson said Maggie told her that “Paul got in trouble again”.

Rachel Sharp has the story...

Paul Murdaugh’s booze-fueled boat party days before his murder revealed

Alex Murdaugh was ‘going to take care of’ the incident – which came two years after the death of Mallory Beach

Oliver O'Connell21 September 2023 10:30

Court clerk accused of jury tampering in Murdaugh trial says daughter was ‘excited’ to be on jury

The South Carolina court official at the centre of Alex Murdaugh’s bid for a new murder trial has revealed that her own daughter was “excited” at the prospect of becoming a juror in the high-profile case.

Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill is the first-person interview viewers hear from in the second series of Netflix’s Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal, released on Wednesday.

Describing herself as a “native of Walterboro” who does “love my county and love my job”, Ms Hill spoke of the magnitude of the so-called trial of the century being held in the close, tight-knit Lowcountry.

“Preparing for the trial of Alex Murdaugh was huge,” she said.

“It’s been a long time since a trial of this magnitude had happened to a small town in South Carolina. We knew that we had to get together as a county and be prepared for anything that might come up.”

In a bizarre twist indicating how interconnected the local community is, she revealed that her own daughter was almost seated as a juror in the case.

“So my daughter almost became a juror,” she said, adding: “She was so excited.”

Rachel Sharp21 September 2023 11:30

A shock confession, spiteful obituary and boozy boat party

Over the last few weeks, the sprawling crime saga surrounding Alex Murdaugh has once again been catapulted into the spotlight.

Six months after he was convicted of killing his wife Maggie and son Paul on 7 June 2021, Murdaugh filed a motion demanding a new trial based on a damning accusation against Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill.

His attorneys claim that Ms Hill tampered with the jury, pressuring them to find him guilty and breaking her oath as an elected official.

New details continue to emerge about this – including a random Georgia man’s unlikely links to the case – and legal experts have warned that if the allegations are in fact true, a new trial is almost certain.

At the same time, Murdaugh’s other criminal charges are progressing through the courts.

He appeared in court on 14 September for a hearing on a slew of state financial charges – marking his first court appearance since his murder trial sentencing.

On Thursday, he is slated to appear in court to plead guilty to 22 federal financial criminal charges including wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering – after signing a plea deal with prosecutors on Monday.

Now, Netflix has dropped its second series of “Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal” – bringing new details and claims about the Murdaugh saga to light.

Here are some of the key revelations from the new series:

Murdaugh Murders: Key revelations from new Netflix series

From a bombshell confession to fake obituary and a booze-fuelled boat party, Netflix’s second season of Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal brings new details about the Murdaugh saga to light. Rachel Sharp reports

Rachel Sharp21 September 2023 12:30

Today: Murdaugh to plead guilty to federal charges of financial fraud and money laundering

Convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh is expected to step before a judge Thursday and do something he hasn’t done in the two years since his life of privilege and power started to unravel: plead guilty to a crime.

Murdaugh will admit in federal court that he committed 22 counts of financial fraud and money laundering, his attorneys said in court papers filed this week.

Murdaugh, 55, is serving life without parole in a South Carolina prison for shooting his wife and son. He has denied any role in the killings since their deaths in June 2021 and insisted he was innocent in two days of testimony this year before he was convicted of two counts of murder.

The federal guilty plea likely locks in years if not decades in prison for the disbarred lawyer, even if his murder conviction and sentence in state court is overturned on appeal.

AP21 September 2023 12:50

The deal for pleading guilty in federal court is straightforward. Prosecutors will ask that any federal sentence Murdaugh gets will run at the same time as any prison term he serves from a state court. They won’t give him credit defendants typically receive for pleading guilty.

In exchange, authorities get a requirement placed in almost every plea deal, which is especially significant in this case: “The Defendant agrees to be fully truthful and forthright with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies by providing full, complete and truthful information about all criminal activities about which he/she has knowledge,” reads the standard language included in Murdaugh’s deal.

That could be a broad range of wrongdoing. The federal charges against the disgraced attorney, whose family were both prosecutors and founders of a heavy-hitting law firm that no longer carries the Murdaugh name in tiny Hampton County, deal with stealing money from a few clients and others, and creating fraudulent bank accounts

AP21 September 2023 13:10

Murdaugh still faces about 100 different charges in state court. Authorities said he committed insurance fraud by trying to have someone kill him so his surviving son could get $10 million in life insurance, but the shot only grazed Murdaugh’s head. Investigators said Murdaugh failed to pay taxes on the money he stole, took settlement money from several clients and his family’s law firm, and ran a drug and money laundering ring.

He is scheduled to face trial on at least some of those charges at the end of November. State prosecutors have insisted they want him to face justice for each one.

AP21 September 2023 13:20

In federal court in Charleston, Murdaugh’s lawyers said he will plead guilty to 14 counts of money laundering, five counts of wire fraud, one count of bank fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Each charge carries a maximum of at least 20 years in prison. Some have a maximum 30-year sentence. Murdaugh will be sentenced at a later date.

Other requirements of the plea deal include that Murdaugh pay back $9 million he is accused of stealing and take a lie detector test if asked.

Alex Murdaugh plans to do something he hasn't yet done in court — plead guilty

Convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh is expected to do something he hasn’t done in the two years since his life of privilege and power started to unravel: plead guilty to a crime

Oliver O'Connell21 September 2023 13:30

Disgraced banker and Murdaugh co-conspirator Laffitte given more time before prison sentence begins

A federal judge has granted a motion that would postpone the start of a prison sentence for former Palmetto State Bank CEO Russell Laffitte, Live 5 WCSC reports.

US District Judge Richard Gergel sentenced Lafitte to seven years in federal prison on 2 August.

He filed a motion to appeal on 8 August, followed by a motion for release pending that appeal on 14 August.

A week later Lafitte and prosecutors agreed to postpone the beginning of the prison term until today, 21 September, with the court saying it would give the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals an “adequate opportunity” to address the motion for release pending appeal. The appeals court has not yet ruled.

Judge Gergel granted Laffitte’s request for one more delay on Wednesday, granting him until 28 September to report to prison to begin serving his sentence.

In his order, the judge stated: “No further extensions will be granted.”

Oliver O'Connell21 September 2023 13:40

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