OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
12:40 PM – Thursday, September 21, 2023
Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh has confessed in federal court to stealing millions of dollars from his past clients. This marks the first time that he has pleaded guilty to a crime in front of a judge.
On Thursday, Murdaugh, 55, pleaded guilty to 22 counts in South Carolina United States District Court. The counts include bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering for stealing over $9 million. Murdaugh confessing was part of a plea agreement.
He pleaded guilty to 14 of the counts are 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.
In March, Murdaugh, who was is a disbarred attorney, was given a life sentence without parole in a South Carolina prison for killing his 52-year-old wife, Maggie Murdaugh, and their youngest son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh.
He has denied any involvement in the murders since his family’s deaths in June 2021. He proclaimed that he was innocent during a two day testimony earlier this year and is appealing the jury verdict.
“There’s two things Alex will tell you. One, he stole the money. Two, he did not kill Maggie and Paul,” defense attorney Dick Harpootlian said after the hearing.
The guilty plea has the potential to lock in years if not decades in prison for the former lawyer, even if his murder conviction and sentence in state court are overturned on appeal.
Murdough’s federal counts could have him facing a maximum of 30 years in prison. The counts are based on the same financial crimes he is accused of in a load of state indictments. He is set to go to trial in November on some of the charges.
Additionally, he confessed that he stole money that was supposed to be meant for a man paralyzed from the neck down in an accident, for two sisters who were children when they lost their mother and brother in a crash, as well as from the estate of his longtime maid who died in a fall at the family home.
During the hearing, the disbarred attorney expressed to the judge that he wanted to take the blame for his bank fraud and stealing from his clients. He also added that he would like to do right by his son.
“I want to take responsibility. I want my son to see me take responsibility. It’s my hope that by taking responsibility that the people I’ve hurt can begin to heal,” said Murdaugh, standing in his orange South Carolina prison jumpsuit.
The plea deal mandates Murdaugh to work with prosecutors, pay restitution and take a lie detector test if asked to.
He is set to be sentenced at a later date. According to federal prosecutor Emily Limehouse, prosecutors will be asking for a lengthy term.
“Our goal in holding him accountable for the financial crimes in federal court is to ensure that he’s never a free man again,” Limehouse explained.
If the convicted killer follows through with the process, prosecutors are planning to request for the judge to impose a prison term that will occur at the same time as any sentence imposed in state court for crimes that may be similar.
“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,” according to the plea agreement he signed September 18th.
Reportedly, Murdaugh asked one of his former clients, Curtis Eddie Smith, to shoot him in the head just three months after the murders of his wife and youngest son. He requested this from Smith so that his oldest son, Buster Murdaugh, could receive $10 million in life insurance payouts.
Smith, 62, replied to Murdaugh asking why he wanted to die.
“Because they’re going to be able to prove that I’m responsible for Maggie and Paul,” Murdaugh allegedly responded, referring to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
Therefore, Smith expressed that he quickly refused Murdaugh’s request.
“That ain’t happening. Not today, not tomorrow. It ain’t happening,” he remembered telling Murdaugh.
According to a documentary that aired earlier this month by Fox Nation, The Fall of the House of Murdaugh, the convicted murderer’s oldest son exclusively told host Martha MacCallum that he believed his father did not receive a fair trial.
“I think it was a tilted table from the beginning,” Buster told MacCallum. “And I think, unfortunately, a lot of the jurors felt that way prior to when they had to deliberate. It was predetermined in their minds, prior to when they ever heard any shred of evidence that was given in that room.”
According to the plea deal, Murdaugh will be required to pay back the $9 million that he is accused of stealing and taking a lie detector test if requested to.
Murdaugh has the potential to face a maximum of 30 years in prison.
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