Alex Murdaugh faces court to plead guilty to stealing millions from clients - live updates

Alex Murdaugh faces court to plead guilty to stealing millions from clients - live updates

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

Key point

Facing charges for deadly crash, Paul Murdaugh hosted booze-fueled boat party days before his murder

08:40 , Rachel Sharp

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”.

Read on for the full story...

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

07:40 , Oliver O'Connell

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

06:40 , Oliver O'Connell

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”.

Continued...

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

04:40 , Oliver O'Connell

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.”

What does the new Murdaugh Murders Netflix series reveal?

02:40 , Oliver O'Connell

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’s what we found out...

Murdaugh Murders: Key revelations from new Netflix series

Will Murdaugh be granted a new trial over murders of wife and son?

Friday 22 September 2023 00:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Speaking exclusively to The Independent’s Rachel Sharp, prominent defence attorney Duncan Levin says that the allegations against court clerk Rebecca Hill are ‘extremely serious’ and that – if true – Alex Murdaugh could and should be granted a new trial.

Will Alex Murdaugh be granted a new trial? Legal expert weighs in

Lifetime movie starring Bill Pullman gives Murdaugh case Hollywood treatment

Thursday 21 September 2023 22:40 , Andrea Cavallier

Six months after former attorney Alex Murdaugh was convicted of murder, the Lifetime Network announced a new movie about the once prominent South Carolina dynasty that came crashing down following a fatal boating accident, a slew of financial crimes and the brutal slayings of his wife and son.

Lifetime’s 500th original movie Murdaugh Murders: The Movie is set to air in a two-night event next month and stepping into the role of the convicted killer is 69-year-old actor Bill Pullman.

First-look images from the movie obtained by Entertainment Weekly - and posted to social media by Lifetime - show a chilling Pullman, his reddish-blonde slicked back, violently grabbing actor Curtis Tweedie, who is portraying his slain son Paul Murdaugh. Lauren Robek plays his wife Maggie.

Continued...

Angry husband’s Facebook rant complicates Murdaugh request for a new trial

Thursday 21 September 2023 21:40 , Rachel Sharp

The saga surrounding Alex Murdaugh has taken yet another dramatic twist after a random Georgia man was thrust into the centre of the convicted killer’s bid for a new murder trial thanks to his now-deleted Facebook rant about his wife’s aunt.

Back on 15 February, Timothy Stone took to his Facebook page to fume that the family member had been “sticking her nose in my business”, according to court documents.

Mr Stone said he made the post in response to a private argument between the pair and then later felt “terrible” about it and deleted it the next day.

He then posted an apology on his account the next day, saying that he was driven by “Satan”.

Random man’s Facebook rant at centre of Alex Murdaugh’s bid for new murder trial

Full story: Murdaugh appears in court to plead guilty to financial crimes

Thursday 21 September 2023 20:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Convicted killer and disgraced legal dynasty heir Alex Murdaugh appeared in federal court today where he pleaded guilty to a string of financial fraud charges – admitting that he stole millions of dollars from law firm clients for his own personal benefit.

The double murderer stood before U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel at the J. Waties Waring Judicial Center in Charleston where he waived his right to a jury trial and confirmed to the court his wish to change his plea to guilty.

Murdaugh had confirmed earlier this week that he’d plead guilty to 22 federal charges, which include wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.

“I’m pleading guilty of my own free will and because I am guilty, and for several other reasons,” Mudaugh said in court on Thursday.

Here’s the full story:

Alex Murdaugh appears in court to plead guilty to financial crimes

Murdaugh co-conspirator granted delay to prison sentence – again

Thursday 21 September 2023 20:10 , Oliver O'Connell

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

South Carolina US District Judge Richard Gergel sentenced Laffitte to seven years in federal prison on 2 August for his role as an accomplice in convicted killer Alex Murdaugh’s financial crimes.

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

A week later he and prosecutors agreed to postpone the beginning of the prison term until 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, Live 5 WCSC reports. The appeals court has not yet ruled.

Continued...

Alex Murdaugh co-conspirator granted delay to prison sentence – again

Murdaugh trial court clerk ducks juey tampering question

Thursday 21 September 2023 19:40 , Andrea Cavallier

Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca “Becky” Hill had nothing to say when she was spotted on Thursday for the first time since being accused of tampering with the jury in Alex Murdaugh’s murder trial.

Ms Hill clutched her cell phone, a drink and a stack of papers in one hand as she crossed the street in Walterboro, South Carolina, around 10am and walked into the courthouse through a back gate.

In a video posted by Fox News, a photographer could be heard asking her, “Did you tamper with the jurors?”

The court clerk glanced over at the photographer, but ignored the comment and kept walking.

“Anything?” the photographer asked as she accessed the gate and walked inside. “Did you tamper with the jurors, Rebecca?”

Read on...

Alex Murdaugh trial court clerk ducks question about whether she tampered with jury

CrimeCon is this weekend. What is it?

Thursday 21 September 2023 19:10 , Oliver O'Connell

Andrea Cavallier explains what to expect as America’s biggest true crime fanatics gearing up for their Super Bowl in Orlando this weekend.

What is CrimeCon? Inside the Super Bowl for true crime fanatics

Financial crime victims’ lawyer slams Murdaugh plea deal

Thursday 21 September 2023 19:03 , Oliver O'Connell

Attorney Justin Bamberg, who represents multiple victims of Alex Murdaugh, released the following statement regarding the plea deal:

Given the severity and callousness of his crimes, Alex Murdaugh should never receive any incentive-based deal from the government, be it federal or state, and we respectfully disagree with the federal government’s voluntary decision to concede to a concurrent sentence in exchange for his guilty plea and agreement to “cooperate”.

To use a sports analogy, plea deals with incentives are for the beginning of the game — not in the 4th quarter with 30 seconds left on the clock. At his murder trial and in an attempt to appear to acknowledge his many wrongdoings, Murdaugh testified that he did all of the financial crimes alone. Today, he pleaded guilty to working hand-in-hand with co-conspirators. Where fact begin and fiction end with Alex?

We trust that the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office will remain steadfast in its commitment to hold Murdaugh accountable and will give him no breaks and offer no incentives; that ship sailed years ago. Murdaugh’s victims are looking forward to seeing him receive the individual sentences he earned via his own individual criminal conduct toward each of them under South Carolina law.

Citing his lawyers’ TV interviews, prosecutors cast doubt on Murdaugh’s jury tampering claims

Thursday 21 September 2023 18:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Prosecutors have responded to Alex Murdaugh’s motion for a new trial on the grounds of jury tampering allegations at his murder trial, stating that South Carolina investigators have found “significant factual disputes” with the claims.

The response filed on Friday by South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson concedes a hearing may be needed to decide if the convicted killer should get a new trial - but moved to dismiss the motion for a “procedural defect” in the filing.

It’s the state’s first response to the bombshell motion filed by Murdaugh’s attorneys Jim Griffin and Dick Harpootlian last week that accused Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill of pressuring jurors to return a guilty verdict earlier this year.

An investigation was launched by the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), which the AG claims is still ongoing, but has said has “revealed significant factual disputes as to claims in (Murdaugh’s) motion.”

Read the full story.

ICYMI: Surviving son Buster Murdaugh breaks silence

Thursday 21 September 2023 18:10 , Rachel Sharp

Buster Murdaugh has broken his silence to deny any involvement in the mysterious killing of gay teenager Stephen Smith – and insist that he still believes his father is innocent of the murders of his mother and brother.

Alex Murdaugh’s only surviving son spoke out in his first TV interview since his family was propelled to national attention, for the new three-part FOX Nation documentary “The Fall of the House of Murdaugh”.

In the interview, Buster slammed rumours that he too could have been involved in a heinous murder – that of 19-year-old Smith in July 2015 – and offered an alibi for his whereabouts on the night the teenager was killed.

Buster Murdaugh breaks silence on Stephen Smith death and insists father is innocent

Murdaugh accuses ‘fame seeking’ court clerk of jury tampering

Thursday 21 September 2023 17:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh has accused a South Carolina court clerk of tampering with the jury at his high-profile double murder trial – because she was driven by fame and a desire to secure a book deal.

The disgraced legal scion and double murderer filed a motion on Tuesday requesting a new trial on the basis that Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill allegedly pressured jurors on the case to return a guilty verdict against him.

In the motion, Murdaugh’s attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin claim that Ms Hill “tampered with the jury by advising them not to believe Murdaugh’s testimony and other evidence presented by the defense, pressuring them to reach a quick guilty verdict, and even misrepresenting critical and material information to the trial judge in her campaign to remove a juror she believed to be favorable to the defense”.

Rachel Sharp filed this report with the details.

Earlier: Murdaugh’s longtime friend and alleged accomplice is sentenced for financial fraud crimes

Thursday 21 September 2023 17:10 , Oliver O'Connell

Former attorney Cory Fleming was sentenced to 13 years and 10 months in prison on charges that he conspired with his longtime friend Alex Murdaugh to steal millions of dollars from trusting clients.

Fleming pleaded guilty last month to the financial fraud charges that stem from Murdaugh’s alleged scheme to steal money from the estate of his dead housekeeper Gloria Satterfield. Satterfield died in a fall on the Murdaugh property in 2018.

He was also involved in stealing money from the family of Hakeem Pinckney – a man whose family Murdaugh represented after he was killed in a car crash in 2009.

Andrea Cavallier reported on the sentencing for The Independent.

Alex Murdaugh’s friend and alleged accomplice sentenced on financial fraud charges

Murdaugh’s bombshell confession before infamous botched hitman plot revealed

Thursday 21 September 2023 16:46 , Rachel Sharp

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.

Mr Smith claimed that Murdaugh begged him to shoot him in an assisted suicide scheme – a shocking request that he said he refused.

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

Full story: Alex Murdaugh appears in court to plead guilty to financial crimes

Thursday 21 September 2023 16:21 , Oliver O'Connell

Convicted killer and disgraced legal dynasty heir Alex Murdaugh appeared in federal court today to plead guilty to a string of financial fraud charges – admitting that he stole millions of dollars from law firm clients for his own personal benefit.

The double murderer stood before U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel at the J. Waties Waring Judicial Center in Charleston where he waived his right to a jury trial and confirmed to the court his wish to change his plea to guilty.

Murdaugh had confirmed earlier this week that he’d plead guilty to 22 federal charges, which include wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.

Andrea Cavallier has the story.

Alex Murdaugh appears in court to plead guilty to financial crimes

Guilty plea signed

Thursday 21 September 2023 15:55 , Oliver O'Connell

The guilty plea is signed, accepted and entered into the record.

Court is then adjourned.

Murdaugh attorneys address issues with charges

Thursday 21 September 2023 15:55 , Oliver O'Connell

After a review of the charges against him, Murdaugh says there are a few issues he disputes and defers to his attorney, Jim Griffin.

Mr Griffin says Murdaugh wants to make clear that he was not intending to steal from the estate account of Donna Badger, one of his victims, only her surviving husband Arthur Badger.

NBC News’s Drew Tripp reports that Judge Gergel responded with a mildly sarcastic tone clarifying that Murdaugh admits to stealing, but not meaning to steal from the dead wife's estate account.

He then concedes he's OK with that clarification.

Mr Griffin also reiterates an issue from the civil case in the Satterfield matter, establishing for the record that he invented the story given to insurance adjusters about how his housekeeper Gloria Satterfield fell and injured herself on his property.

A further issue is brought up by attorney Phil Barber regarding the forfeiture matter in the plea agreement. There is a discrepancy in the total loss amounts in the fraud proceeds attributable to Murdaugh.

Murdaugh has admitted to nearly $9m, but the government believes the amount is over $10.5m but is not ready to present that case today. It is agreed to initially base the order on the lower figure.

Court hears terms of the plea deal

Thursday 21 September 2023 15:32 , Oliver O'Connell

Judge Gergel says that the plea agreement is not a waiver of Murdaugh’s right to appeal.

Murdaugh says: “I’m pleading guilty of my own free will and because I am guilty, and for several other reasons.”

When asked to clarify what the other reasons are, he says so that his surviving son, Buster, can see him take responsibility and that he can try and make things right with his victims.

As part of the plea agreement, Murdaugh must be completely truthful and provide any relevant evidence or records. If he does not, the agreement can be rescinded and further charges can be brought.

Murdaugh must also submit to a polygraph test related to his frauds and assets at the government’s request as well as helping to trace and retrieve all assets, money, and accounts — there was much speculation at the close of the murder trial as to whether money had been hidden away.

The charges to which Murdaugh is pleading guilty

Thursday 21 September 2023 15:21 , Oliver O'Connell

Count 1 - Conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud (Up to 30 years in prison, $1m fine)

Count 2 - Bank fraud (Up to 30 years in prison, $1m fine)

Couns 3-4 - Wire fraud (Up to 30 years in prison, $1m fine)

Counts 5-7 - Wire fraud (Up to 20 years, $250,000 fine)

Count 8 - Conspiracy to commit wire fraud (Up to 20 years in prison, $250,000 fine)

Counts 9-22 - Money laundering (Up to 20 years, the greater of a $250,000 fine or twice the value of the property involved)

What was in the plea deal?

Thursday 21 September 2023 15:19 , Oliver O'Connell

In the agreement, signed and filed in South Carolina US District Court on Monday, the double murderer confirmed he will plead guilty to 22 federal charges including wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.

While Murdaugh admitted to stealing millions from clients during bombshell courtroom testimony at his murder trial, this marks the first time that he has ever pleaded guilty to committing a crime.

Now, he faces up to 30 years in federal prison on some of the charges.

Under the agreement, federal prosecutors have agreed that the sentence would be served concurrently with any state conviction on the same charges.

The plea deal must be approved by a federal judge before it can go into effect.

If approved, it means that Murdaugh will likely remain behind bars for a long time – even if he wins his fight to be granted a new trial on murder charges.

In total, Murdaugh is facing more than 100 state and federal charges over his vast multi-million-dollar fraud scheme which went on for more than a decade.

According to prosecutors, Murdaugh worked with co-conspirators and friends ex-attorney Cory Fleming and ex-Palmetto State Bank CEO Russell Laffitte to swindle clients out of millions of dollars.

Among the victims was the family of Murdaugh’s dead housekeeper Gloria Satterfield – who died in a mystery trip and fall at the family estate in 2018.

Murdaugh allegedly stole more than $4m in a wrongful death suit payout from the family.

Fleming and Laffitte have already been convicted in federal court for their roles in the convicted killer’s white-collar fraud scheme, with the former sentenced to four years and the latter to seven years.

While Murdaugh has reached a deal on the federal charges, he is heading to trial on the state charges in November.

Court underway in Charleston

Thursday 21 September 2023 15:10 , Oliver O'Connell

Court is in session in Charleston, South Carolina for Alex Murdaugh to change his plea from not guilty to guilty.

Judge Richard Gergel begins by asking procedural Murdaugh questions relating to consent and his competency.

Murdaugh says he has been sober for more than 700 days — he has been in prison for approximately two years.

He waives the right to a jury trial and confirms his wish to change his plea to guilty.

Will Murdaugh be granted a new trial over murders of wife and son?

Thursday 21 September 2023 14:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Speaking exclusively to The Independent’s Rachel Sharp, prominent defence attorney Duncan Levin says that the allegations against court clerk Rebecca Hill are ‘extremely serious’ and that – if true – Alex Murdaugh could and should be granted a new trial.

Will Alex Murdaugh be granted a new trial? Legal expert weighs in

What new revelations are there in the second part of the Murdaugh Murders Netflix series?

Thursday 21 September 2023 14:30 , Rachel Sharp

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’s bombshell confession before infamous botched hitman plot revealed

Thursday 21 September 2023 14:10 , Oliver O'Connell

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 reports.

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

Citing his lawyers’ TV interviews, prosecutors cast doubt on Alex Murdaugh’s jury tampering claims

Thursday 21 September 2023 13:50 , Andrea Cavallier

Prosecutors have responded to Alex Murdaugh’s motion for a new trial on the grounds of jury tampering allegations at his murder trial, stating that South Carolina investigators have found “significant factual disputes” with the claims.

The response filed on Friday by South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson concedes a hearing may be needed to decide if the convicted killer should get a new trial - but moved to dismiss the motion for a “procedural defect” in the filing.

It’s the state’s first response to the bombshell motion filed by Murdaugh’s attorneys Jim Griffin and Dick Harpootlian last week that accused Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill of pressuring jurors to return a guilty verdict earlier this year.

Continued...

Murdaugh’s jury tampering claims have ‘significant’ factual disputes, prosecutors say

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

Thursday 21 September 2023 13:40 , Oliver O'Connell

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.”

Thursday 21 September 2023 13:30 , Oliver O'Connell

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

Thursday 21 September 2023 13:20 , AP

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.

Thursday 21 September 2023 13:10 , AP

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

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

Thursday 21 September 2023 12:50 , AP

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.

A shock confession, spiteful obituary and boozy boat party

Thursday 21 September 2023 12:30 , Rachel Sharp

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

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

Thursday 21 September 2023 11:30 , Rachel Sharp

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.”

Continued...

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

Thursday 21 September 2023 10:30 , Oliver O'Connell

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

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

Thursday 21 September 2023 08:30 , Oliver O'Connell

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

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

Thursday 21 September 2023 07:30 , Oliver O'Connell

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”.

Continued...

Key revelations from the bombshell Alex Murdaugh murder trial

Will Alex Murdaugh be granted a new trial?

Thursday 21 September 2023 06:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Speaking exclusively to The Independent’s Rachel Sharp, prominent defence attorney Duncan Levin explains that the allegations against court clerk Rebecca Hill are ‘extremely serious’ and that – if true – Murdaugh could and should be granted a new trial.

When Alex Murdaugh was convicted of the murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul back in March, his legal team insisted that the fight wasn’t over.

Six months on, his attorneys — Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin — approached the South Carolina Court of Appeals in Columbia and filed a motion calling for a new trial.

Motions for appeals or new trials are hardly uncommon in criminal cases.

But, the foundation for the request from Murdaugh’s attorneys is.

In the bombshell 65-page filing, Murdaugh has accused Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill of breaking her oath by allegedly tampering with the jury in the case, pressuring them into returning a guilty verdict against him.

Continued...

Lifetime and Bill Pullman give Murdaugh the Hollywood treatment

Thursday 21 September 2023 04:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Six months after former attorney Alex Murdaugh was convicted of murder, the Lifetime Network announced a new movie about the once-prominent South Carolina dynasty that came crashing down following a fatal boating accident, a slew of financial crimes and the brutal slayings of his wife and son.

Lifetime’s 500th original movie Murdaugh Murders: The Movie is set to air in a two-night event next month and stepping into the role of the convicted killer is 69-year-old actor Bill Pullman.

First-look images from the movie obtained by Entertainment Weekly - and posted to social media by Lifetime - show a chilling Pullman, his reddish-blonde slicked back, violently grabbing actor Curtis Tweedie, who is portraying his slain son Paul Murdaugh. Lauren Robek plays his wife Maggie.

Andrea Cavallier has the story...

Alex Murdaugh is getting the Hollywood treatment - in a new Lifetime movie

Here’s a first: Murdaugh pleads guilty to crime...

Thursday 21 September 2023 02:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Convicted killer and disgraced legal dynasty heir 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 for his own personal benefit.

In the agreement, signed and filed in South Carolina US District Court on Monday, the double murderer confirmed he will plead guilty to 22 federal charges including wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.

While Murdaugh admitted to stealing millions from clients during bombshell courtroom testimony at his murder trial, this marks the first time that he has ever pleaded guilty to committing a crime.

Now, he faces up to 30 years in federal prison on some of the charges.

Rachel Sharp has the details.

Alex Murdaugh pleads guilty to committing crime for first time

Watch: Season two trailer of Netflix’s ‘Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal'

Thursday 21 September 2023 00:30 , Oliver O'Connell

An angry husband’s Facebook rant has complicated Murdaugh’s request for new trial

Wednesday 20 September 2023 22:30 , Rachel Sharp

The saga surrounding Alex Murdaugh has taken yet another dramatic twist after a random Georgia man was thrust into the centre of the convicted killer’s bid for a new murder trial thanks to his now-deleted Facebook rant about his wife’s aunt.

Back on 15 February, Timothy Stone took to his Facebook page to fume that the family member had been “sticking her nose in my business”, according to court documents.

Mr Stone said he made the post in response to a private argument between the pair and then later felt “terrible” about it and deleted it the next day.

He then posted an apology on his account the next day, saying that he was driven by “Satan”.

Continued...

Citing his lawyers’ TV interviews, prosecutors cast doubt on Alex Murdaugh’s jury tampering claims

Wednesday 20 September 2023 21:30 , Andrea Cavallier

Prosecutors have responded to Alex Murdaugh’s motion for a new trial on the grounds of jury tampering allegations at his murder trial, stating that South Carolina investigators have found “significant factual disputes” with the claims.

The response filed on Friday by South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson concedes a hearing may be needed to decide if the convicted killer should get a new trial - but moved to dismiss the motion for a “procedural defect” in the filing.

It’s the state’s first response to the bombshell motion filed by Murdaugh’s attorneys Jim Griffin and Dick Harpootlian last week that accused Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill of pressuring jurors to return a guilty verdict earlier this year.

Continued...

Murdaugh’s jury tampering claims have ‘significant’ factual disputes, prosecutors say

Murdaugh smiles at court in shackles as trial date set in financial fraud case

Wednesday 20 September 2023 20:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Murdaugh appeared before a judge in a South Carolina courtroom on financial fraud charges for the first time since he was hauled away after being sentenced to life in prison for the brutal murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul earlier this year.

The disgraced attorney was shackled and handcuffed but smiled as he entered the courtroom in Beaufort County on Thursday before he shuffled to the defence table wearing a bright orange jumpsuit.

Murdaugh shook hands with members of his defence team and to the shock of many online, state Rep Todd Rutherford stood up and greeted the convicted killer with a handshake. Rutherford is one of the attorneys representing former Palmetto State Bank CEO Russell Laffitte - and alleged co-conspirator in Murdaugh’s financial crimes who is also appearing at the hearing.

Andrea Cavallier reports...

Smiling Alex Murdaugh appears in court in shackles as trial date set

Outrage as South Carolina lawmaker shakes hands with convicted killer Murdaugh

Wednesday 20 September 2023 19:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Social media users were outraged watching Alex Murdaugh’s first court appearance since his double murder conviction when he was warmly greeted by a South Carolina state representative.

Mandy Matney, who has closely tracked Murdaugh’s case for her podcast, screenshotted the moment and was incredulous on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

“WOW.... this is @RepRutherford — who works for the PEOPLE OF SC — STANDING UP TO GREET murderer Alex Murdaugh in court today,” she wrote.

“These people are unreal. They don’t even hide their gross alliances. VOTE THEM OUT.”

Continued...

ICYMI: Murdaugh trial court clerk ducks question about whether she tampered with jury

Wednesday 20 September 2023 18:30 , Andrea Cavallier

Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca “Becky” Hill had nothing to say when she was spotted on Thursday for the first time since being accused of tampering with the jury in Alex Murdaugh’s murder trial.

Ms Hill clutched her cell phone, a drink and a stack of papers in one hand as she crossed the street in Walterboro, South Carolina, around 10am and walked into the courthouse through a back gate.

In a video posted by Fox News, a photographer could be heard asking her, “Did you tamper with the jurors?”

The court clerk glanced over at the photographer, but ignored the comment and kept walking.

Alex Murdaugh trial court clerk ducks question about whether she tampered with jury

A shock confession, spiteful obituary and boozy boat party

Wednesday 20 September 2023 18:00 , Rachel Sharp

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

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

Wednesday 20 September 2023 17:30 , Rachel Sharp

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.”

Continued...

Alex Murdaugh court clerk accused of jury tampering reveals new ties to case

Key revelations from Alex Murdaugh’s trial

Wednesday 20 September 2023 17:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Legal dynasty heir Alex Murdaugh is currently serving two life sentences at a maximum security prison in South Carolina after he was convicted of the brutal double murder of his wife and adult son at his bombshell six-week trial.

Maggie, 52, and Paul, 22, were both shot dead at the family’s sprawling 1,700-acre property in Islandton, South Carolina, on the night of 7 June 2021.

Murdaugh, 55, claimed that he returned home from visiting his elderly mother to find the victims’ bodies at the dog kennels on the land.

This kicked off a dramatic saga surrounding the legal dynasty family including murder, a botched hitman plot, multi-million-dollar fraud schemes and a series of unexplained deaths.

For more than a year after Maggie and Paul’s killings, no arrests were made. Until – in July 2022 – Murdaugh was charged with their murders.

At his high-profile murder trial, prosecutors told the court that Murdaugh killed his wife and son to distract from the growing number of scandals and crimes swirling around him.

The now-disbarred attorney denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

After six weeks of dramatic testimony at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, the jury took less than three hours to return their verdict on 2 March convicting him on all charges.

Murdaugh was then sentenced to life in prison and is now behind bars at the McCormick Correctional Institution in South Carolina.

Here are the key revelations from the trial...

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

Wednesday 20 September 2023 16:30 , Oliver O'Connell

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”.

Continued...

Alex Murdaugh’s infamous ‘egg juror’ is at the centre of his bid for a new trial

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

Wednesday 20 September 2023 16:00 , Oliver O'Connell

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 weeks before his murder revealed

Will Alex Murdaugh be granted a new trial?

Wednesday 20 September 2023 15:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Speaking exclusively to The Independent’s Rachel Sharp, prominent defence attorney Duncan Levin explains that the allegations against court clerk Rebecca Hill are ‘extremely serious’ and that – if true – Murdaugh could and should be granted a new trial.

When Alex Murdaugh was convicted of the murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul back in March, his legal team insisted that the fight wasn’t over.

Six months on, his attorneys — Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin — approached the South Carolina Court of Appeals in Columbia and filed a motion calling for a new trial.

Motions for appeals or new trials are hardly uncommon in criminal cases.

But, the foundation for the request from Murdaugh’s attorneys is.

In the bombshell 65-page filing, Murdaugh has accused Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill of breaking her oath by allegedly tampering with the jury in the case, pressuring them into returning a guilty verdict against him.

Continued...

Lifetime and Bill Pullman give Murdaugh the Hollywood treatment

Wednesday 20 September 2023 15:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Six months after former attorney Alex Murdaugh was convicted of murder, the Lifetime Network announced a new movie about the once prominent South Carolina dynasty that came crashing down following a fatal boating accident, a slew of financial crimes and the brutal slayings of his wife and son.

Lifetime’s 500th original movie Murdaugh Murders: The Movie is set to air in a two-night event next month and stepping into the role of the convicted killer is 69-year-old actor Bill Pullman.

First-look images from the movie obtained by Entertainment Weekly - and posted to social media by Lifetime - show a chilling Pullman, his reddish-blonde slicked back, violently grabbing actor Curtis Tweedie, who is portraying his slain son Paul Murdaugh. Lauren Robek plays his wife Maggie.

Andrea Cavallier has the story...

Alex Murdaugh is getting the Hollywood treatment - in a new Lifetime movie

Here’s a first: Murdaugh pleads guilty to crime...

Wednesday 20 September 2023 14:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Convicted killer and disgraced legal dynasty heir 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 for his own personal benefit.

In the agreement, signed and filed in South Carolina US District Court on Monday, the double murderer confirmed he will plead guilty to 22 federal charges including wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.

While Murdaugh admitted to stealing millions from clients during bombshell courtroom testimony at his murder trial, this marks the first time that he has ever pleaded guilty to committing a crime.

Now, he faces up to 30 years in federal prison on some of the charges.

Rachel Sharp has the details.

Alex Murdaugh pleads guilty to committing crime for first time

Watch: Trailer for season two of ‘Murdaugh Murders’ on Netflix

Wednesday 20 September 2023 14:00 , Oliver O'Connell

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

Wednesday 20 September 2023 13:45 , Oliver O'Connell

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

Murdaugh new trial request complicated by angry husband’s Facebook rant

Wednesday 20 September 2023 13:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The saga surrounding Alex Murdaugh has taken yet another dramatic twist after a random Georgia man was thrust into the centre of the convicted killer’s bid for a new murder trial thanks to his now-deleted Facebook rant about his wife’s aunt.

Back on 15 February, Timothy Stone took to his Facebook page to fume that the family member had been “sticking her nose in my business”, according to court documents.

Mr Stone said he made the post in response to a private argument between the pair and then later felt “terrible” about it and deleted it the next day.

He then posted an apology on his account the next day, saying that he was driven by “Satan”.

Rachel Sharp has the story...

Random man’s Facebook rant at centre of Alex Murdaugh’s bid for new murder trial

Key revelations from Alex Murdaugh’s trial

Wednesday 20 September 2023 13:10 , Rachel Sharp

Legal dynasty heir Alex Murdaugh is currently serving two life sentences at a maximum security prison in South Carolina after he was convicted of the brutal double murder of his wife and adult son at his bombshell six-week trial.

Maggie, 52, and Paul, 22, were both shot dead at the family’s sprawling 1,700-acre property in Islandton, South Carolina, on the night of 7 June 2021.

Murdaugh, 55, claimed that he returned home from visiting his elderly mother to find the victims’ bodies at the dog kennels on the land.

This kicked off a dramatic saga surrounding the legal dynasty family including murder, a botched hitman plot, multi-million-dollar fraud schemes and a series of unexplained deaths.

For more than a year after Maggie and Paul’s killings, no arrests were made. Until – in July 2022 – Murdaugh was charged with their murders.

At his high-profile murder trial, prosecutors told the court that Murdaugh killed his wife and son to distract from the growing number of scandals and crimes swirling around him.

The now-disbarred attorney denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

After six weeks of dramatic testimony at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, the jury took less than three hours to return their verdict on 2 March convicting him on all charges.

Murdaugh was then sentenced to life in prison and is now behind bars at the McCormick Correctional Institution in South Carolina.

Here are the key revelations from the trial...

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

Wednesday 20 September 2023 12:40 , Rachel Sharp

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”.

Continued...

Alex Murdaugh’s infamous ‘egg juror’ is at the centre of his bid for a new trial

Will Alex Murdaugh be granted a new trial?

Wednesday 20 September 2023 12:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Speaking exclusively to The Independent’s Rachel Sharp, prominent defence attorney Duncan Levin explains that the allegations against court clerk Rebecca Hill are ‘extremely serious’ and that – if true – Murdaugh could and should be granted a new trial.

When Alex Murdaugh was convicted of the murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul back in March, his legal team insisted that the fight wasn’t over.

Six months on, his attorneys — Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin — approached the South Carolina Court of Appeals in Columbia and filed a motion calling for a new trial.

Motions for appeals or new trials are hardly uncommon in criminal cases.

But, the foundation for the request from Murdaugh’s attorneys is.

In the bombshell 65-page filing, Murdaugh has accused Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill of breaking her oath by allegedly tampering with the jury in the case, pressuring them into returning a guilty verdict against him.

Read on...

Who is Cousin Eddie?

Wednesday 20 September 2023 11:50 , Rachel Sharp

Curtis “Cousin Eddie” Smith is Murdaugh’s alleged co-conspirator in a wild botched hitman plot that became central to the prosecution’s case in the murder trial.

The 62-year-old trucker – a former legal client, distant cousin and alleged drug dealer of Murdaugh – was allegedly paid by Murdaugh to shoot him dead so that Buster could get a $10m life insurance windfall.

The saga unfolded on 4 September 2021 – three months on from Maggie and Paul’s murders and one day after Murdaugh’s law firm PMPED accused him of stealing millions of dollars from clients.

Murdaugh called 911 to say he had been shot in a drive-by shooting while changing a tyre on his vehicle along a road in Hampton County.

He was treated at a hospital for what police called a “superficial gunshot wound to the head,” but his story quickly unravelled and he confessed to the assisted suicide plot with Mr Smith.

Mr Smith has been charged over the incident.

He was later hit with charges of helping Murdaugh with a drug and money laundering ring, with authorities alleging he receieved $2.4m in stolen checks from Murdaugh – some of it used to to buy Murdaugh opiates to feed his addiction.

Mr Smith insists that he did not shoot Murdaugh in the head but actually refused to be part of his hitman plot.

Curtis Smith (Colleton County Sheriffs Office)
Curtis Smith (Colleton County Sheriffs Office)

PICTURED: Murdaugh and financial crimes accomplices in court last week

Wednesday 20 September 2023 11:30 , Rachel Sharp

Murdaugh in court (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Murdaugh in court (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Murdaugh-Financial-Crimes (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Murdaugh-Financial-Crimes (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Russell Laffitte at defence table (Law & Crime)
Russell Laffitte at defence table (Law & Crime)
Cory Fleming (Law&Crime)
Cory Fleming (Law&Crime)

Alex Murdaugh’s request for a new trial complicated by angry husband’s Facebook rant

Wednesday 20 September 2023 11:10 , Rachel Sharp

The saga surrounding Alex Murdaugh has taken yet another dramatic twist after a random Georgia man was thrust into the centre of the convicted killer’s bid for a new murder trial thanks to his now-deleted Facebook rant about his wife’s aunt.

Back on 15 February, Timothy Stone took to his Facebook page to fume that the family member had been “sticking her nose in my business”, according to court documents.

Mr Stone said he made the post in response to a private argument between the pair and then later felt “terrible” about it and deleted it the next day.

He then posted an apology on his account the next day, saying that he was driven by “Satan”.

Little did Mr Stone know that this brief family spat would become central to the so-called “trial of the century” going on in Colleton County Courthouse – and efforts by convicted killer Murdaugh to be granted a new trial for the murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul.

Read on...

Random man’s Facebook rant at centre of Alex Murdaugh’s bid for new murder trial

Cousin Eddie makes shock claim in new Netflix series

Wednesday 20 September 2023 10:50 , Rachel Sharp

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.

Mr Smith is facing a string of charges over the 4 September 2021 incident where he allegedly shot Murdaugh along the side of a road in Hampton County in an assisted suicide scheme.

In the new series, he speaks out about the incident giving new details about his version of events that day.

He said that Murdaugh asked him to fatally shoot him in the head but he refused.

When he asked Murdaugh why he wanted him to fatally shoot him, Mr Smith claims the convicted killer made a startling confession.

“Because they’re going to be able to prove that I’m responsible for Maggie and Paul,” he said.

Murdaugh was convicted of Maggie and Paul’s murders in March but is fighting his conviction and continues to insist his innocence.

WATCH: Netflix’s Murdaugh Murders season 2 trailer

Wednesday 20 September 2023 10:40 , Oliver O'Connell

FULL STORY: Alex Murdaugh pleads guilty to committing crime for first time

Wednesday 20 September 2023 10:30 , Rachel Sharp

Convicted killer and disgraced legal dynasty heir 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 for his own personal benefit.

In the agreement, signed and filed in South Carolina US District Court on Monday, the double murderer confirmed he will plead guilty to 22 federal charges including wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.

While Murdaugh admitted to stealing millions from clients during bombshell courtroom testimony at his murder trial, this marks the first time that he has ever pleaded guilty to committing a crime.

Now, he faces up to 30 years in federal prison on some of the charges.

Read the full story here:

Alex Murdaugh pleads guilty to committing crime for first time

Welcome to The Independent’s liveblog on the latest in the Alex Murdaugh case

Wednesday 20 September 2023 10:22 , Rachel Sharp

Follow updates as Murdaugh pleads guilty to a crime for the first time and Netflix releases next series of “Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal”