Alex Murdaugh returns on Friday for a pretrial hearing for his upcoming court case involving alleged financial crimes.
The 55-year-old hitman legal scion faces more than 100 financial crime charges based on embezzling $9 million from friends and clients of his former law firm.
Prosecutors are expected to argue that he murdered his wife Maggie and son Paul to divert attention from his financial crimes, and say his life spiraled out of control as he struggled with a secret opioid addiction.
Murdaugh’s trial is scheduled to begin on November 27, but his lawyers have asked for the trial to be moved elsewhere or moved, expressing concerns about the impartiality of the jury in the case of the notorious killer.
Similar allegations of jury tampering were made during his murder trial earlier this year, when Colleton County Court Clerk Rebecca Hill was accused of improperly advising jurors to ignore Murdaugh’s testimony and pressuring them to reach a quick verdict.
Alex Murdaugh appeared in court on Friday for a pre-trial hearing, facing more than 100 financial crime charges.
Murdaugh speaks with his defense attorney, Dick Harpootlian, in court on Friday
Defense attorney Dick Harpootlian (left) talks with prosecutor Creighton Waters (right), who is expected to argue that Murdaugh killed his wife and son to divert attention from alleged financial crimes
In his financial crimes trial, Murdaugh faces 19 indictments and more than 100 felony charges, including tax evasion, money laundering, forgery and fraud.
Ronnie Richter, a lawyer representing victims of Murdaugh’s alleged financial crimes, said the lawyer’s actions amounted to a “Ponzi scheme.”
“Alex’s financial crimes are nothing more than a Ponzi scheme, and all Ponzi schemes work the same way – I have to keep stealing from new people to replace the money I stole from old people,” he said.
“All Ponzi schemes end the same way. Sooner or later it’s like musical chairs: the music stops and someone is left without a chair.
And the exact same thing happened to Alex. The music stopped, he ran out of places to get money, and all his financial crimes came to light.
The financial crimes case will be presided over by Judge Clifton Newman, who this week recused himself from any future hearings for Murdaugh on his murder conviction while his lawyers seek a retrial.
Newman came under fire after a controversial interview with NBC News a month after the trial, in which he commented on the blockbuster trial just a month after its conclusion.
Murdaugh was convicted on March 2 of murdering his son Paul and wife Maggie at their South Carolina hunting lodge in June 2021. He is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole and is appealing the verdict
Murdaugh’s attorneys are seeking to move his financial crimes trial out of the Lowcountry or delay it until at least March, arguing that his case could be tainted by the media and public attention surrounding it.
Last week, Murdaugh’s attorney, Dick Harpootlian, cited responses to a pretrial juror questionnaire that asked how well potential jurors understood his criminal charges because of “exhaustive media coverage.”
In response, Eric Bland, a lawyer representing one of Murdaugh’s alleged financial victims, said the motion was without merit because the juror was not selected based on his knowledge of the case.
“It’s a bit like the pot that makes the kettle black. The truth is you can go to Tanzania and try to hold a trial there and there are people there who have heard about the Murdaugh case,” Bland said.
“Just because people have heard about the Murdaugh case doesn’t mean they can’t be fair, impartial and objective judges.
“You don’t have to pick a jury where 12 people have never heard of the Murdaugh case. They must be willing to put aside whatever knowledge they may have and listen to the evidence and act honestly and impartially. It’s standard and I think they can.
Buster, Paul, Maggie and Alex Murdaugh are pictured in a photo presented to jurors during a trial at the Colleton County Courthouse on Tuesday, February 14
As Murdaugh prepares to go on trial for his alleged financial crimes, lead investigators in his murder probe have revealed the moment they found the smoking gun in his case.
Breaking their silence for the first time since the March trial of a prominent South Carolina lawyer, investigators Brett Dove and David Owen spoke NBC Data Linein the episode airing tonight at 9 p.m., regarding the discovery of video footage proving that he lied about being at the crime scene.
The evidence in question was the final cellphone video recorded by Murdaugh’s son, Paul, on the night of the murder, in which the voice believed to be the patriarch could be heard as he claimed he was not at the scene.
“I listened to it three to four times to make sure I heard it because I couldn’t believe it,” Dove said, with Owen describing the moment as “really exciting.”
“I can prove that Alex lied to me,” he added, and agreed that it was the smoking gun that “broke the case wide open.”