Murdaugh enters plea during federal court appearance
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Disbarred Lowcountry attorney Alex Murdaugh entered a plea Wednesday afternoon during an initial appearance in Charleston on 22 federal charges.
Murdaugh entered a plea of not guilty on the charges, which include one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, one count of bank fraud, a total of five counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 14 counts of money laundering.
But defense attorney Jim Griffin told the court they expect to have a change of plea hearing sometime in the near future.
Murdaugh’s attorneys said their client is working with federal authorities, but would not comment further when asked about plans for a change of plea hearing. Prosecutors also declined to comment.
Murdaugh, who is currently serving prison time for the June 2021, shooting deaths of his wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh and their son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh, in June of 2021, appeared at the hearing dressed in an orange jumpsuit with handcuffs chained to his waist. He was flanked by U.S. Marshals.
A federal grand jury indicted him on those charges last week.
The indictment alleges that Murdaugh, who was a personal injury attorney at a law firm in Hampton engaged in three different schemes to obtain money and property from his personal injury clients, a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office states.
Attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, who represent Murdaugh, released a joint statement Wednesday morning shortly after news of the new indictment was released:
Alex has been cooperating with the United States Attorneys’ Office and federal agencies in their investigation of a broad range of activities. We anticipate that the charges brought today will be quickly resolved without a trial.
Though Murdaugh has been in prison for the past three months, he appeared to be in good spirits and was responsive to the judge during the hearing.
No family members attended the hearing and Murdaugh was quickly whisked away in an unmarked van after the hearing ended.
He will remain in state custody while facing the federal charges.
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