At the onset of Monday’s proceedings, Alex Murdaugh’s lawyers asked the court to bar prosecutors from asking their client about his alleged financial crimes if he testified in his own defense.
The defense argued that Alex retains his Fifth Amendment right to shield himself from self-incrimination even if he takes the stand at his double murder trial. Meanwhile, prosecutor Creighton Waters said Alex could be asked about details relevant to the case, including issues about his credibility — which he opined covered components regarding his slew of financial crimes.
Judge Newman did not say whether he would limit what the prosecution could ask Alex about, but he refused to preemptively issue an order. It still remains unconfirmed whether Alex will take the stand this week or at all.
“I am not going to issue an order in advance, limiting the scope of cross-examination. Any objection will matter must be addressed as the evidence is presented and not based on any advance ruling by the court,” the judge said.
#AlexMurdaughTrial Day 20
Defense wants Murdaugh to take the stand, but ask Judge to limit cross examination, no financial questions.
Judge has not ruled on Defense’s request. pic.twitter.com/G8hyKELAf8
— Chasing Justice (@LogicalNotes) February 22, 2023
Prosecutors said cell phone data and forensic evidence tie Alex to Maggie and Paul’s slayings. Meanwhile, Alex’s attorney, Dick Harpootlian, said the cell phone records were incomplete and asserted that Alex would be covered in blood if he killed his wife and son at close range. Harpootlian said no blood was found on Alex’s clothing.
In September 2021, months after Paul and Maggie’s slayings, Alex suffered superficial head wounds when he allegedly had former client Curtis Smith, 61, shoot him in the head so his surviving son, Buster, would receive a $10 million insurance payout.
A day before the shooting, Alex was forced out of his family law firm amid allegations he misappropriated funds.
Two days after the apparent botched suicide, Alex announced he was entering rehabilitation for drugs. Shortly thereafter, he was charged with insurance fraud in connection with the September 2021 suicide-for-hire plot and released on bail.
However, in October 2021, Alex was rearrested upon leaving a rehabilitation center in Florida for allegedly stealing $4.3 million from late housekeeper Gloria Satterfield’s estate. In that case, he was accused of stealing insurance payouts that were intended for Satterfield’s family. Authorities plan to exhume her body amid an ongoing investigation regarding her death.
In addition to the murder charges, Alex faces more than 100 criminal counts related to fraud.
In June 2022, Alex and Smith were indicted for allegedly purchasing and distributing oxycodone in multiple counties. In December 2022, Alex was indicted for tax evasion for allegedly failing to claim the $6 million he allegedly earned through illegal acts between 2011 and 2019.
Alex was charged with Maggie and Paul’s murders days after he was formally disbarred by the South Carolina Supreme Court.
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[Featured image: Alex Murdaugh/Grace Beahm Alford/The Post And Courier via AP, Pool