Here’s what you need to know about the once-highlighted lawyer as jury selection begins

Here’s what you need to know about the once-highlighted lawyer as jury selection begins

top line

Jury selection began Monday for the murder trial of Alex Murdaugh, a prominent South Carolina attorney who was accused of killing his wife and son in 2021, as Murdaugh faces dozens of criminal charges alleging everything from murder and money laundering to fraud and embezzlement of customer funds. .

key facts

Prosecutors charged Murdaugh last year with two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during a violent crime, alleging he shot his wife Maggie with a rifle before killing their son Paul with a shotgun in front of the family home in June 2021.

Evidence linking Murdaugh to the crime scene has not been made public, although investigators found bloodstains, which tested negative for human blood, on a white T-shirt belonging to Murdaugh, according to The mail and the messenger.

Murdaugh pleaded not guilty and his attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin issued a joint statement denying the murder charges, according to local news affiliate WCSC, adding that “Alex is looking forward to this opportunity to clear his name.”

Murdaugh claims he was visiting his ailing father and mother at the time of the murders, according to the New York Times.

If convicted of two counts of first degree murder, Murdaugh faces a minimum of 20 years in prison.

key background

Alex Murdaugh is part of a long line of high-profile lawyers: his family members served as District Attorneys for the 14th District of the South Carolina Circuit from 1920 to 2006, and as members of the personal injury law firm Peters Murdaugh Parker Ezltzroth & Detrick. But Murdaugh began facing a series of criminal charges in the months after the deaths of his wife and child, including 99 counts in 19 indictments. Murdaugh was also accused of defrauding victims, including some of his legal clients, of nearly $9 million and of defrauding South Carolina of nearly $500,000, according to Attorney General Alan Wilson. In a set of four indictments announced in January 2021, Murdaugh is accused of defrauding four clients out of $2.6 million after Murdaugh allegedly spent his compensation and trustee checks for his personal use. Prosecutors also allege Murdaugh stole insurance deals from his late housekeeper’s family, while other charges accuse Murdaugh and Curtis Smith of a money laundering scheme involving the illegal distribution of oxycodone, according to the Associated Press. A December 2021 civil lawsuit also claims Murdaugh committed insurance fraud after he allegedly paid a man $2 million to kill him, which would have allowed Murdaugh’s surviving son, Buster, to cash in on a life insurance policy. $10 million life.

amazing fact

Eric Bland, a South Carolina attorney representing one of Murdaugh’s accusers, told WCSC that Murdaugh could be sentenced to a maximum of more than 900 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Tangent

Murdaugh will also be tried in a wrongful death lawsuit involving 19-year-old Mallory Beach, who was killed in a boating accident in 2019. The lawsuit, filed by Beach’s mother, Renee, charges Alex Murdaugh’s son, Paul , of boating under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident, and of purchasing alcohol at a liquor store beforehand, despite being a minor. The civil lawsuit alleges that the Murdaugh family and local Parker’s Kitchen store had “joint and several liability” in Mallory’s death, according to ABC News.

what to observe

No trial date has been set for the other charges Murdaugh faces.

Other reading

Alex Murdaugh faces more than 70 financial crime accusers after indictments allege he defrauded victims out of nearly $9 million (Forbes)

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