Federal prosecutor, defense team talks next steps for Murdaugh’s federal charges

Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 6:02 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh has pleaded guilty to 22 federal financial fraud charges, but his sentencing for the crimes could still be weeks away.

Murdaugh’s guilty plea is part of an agreement between the former lawyer and federal prosecutors. In exchange for admitting to money laundering and bank fraud going back to 2005, Murdaugh will be able to serve his federal sentence concurrently with the sentence his defense team is anticipating to receive for similar state charges.

“His plea in federal court today is the product of nearly two years of investigative work by the FBI and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division,” said assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Limehouse. “Our goal in holding him accountable for the financial crimes in federal court is to ensure that he is never a free man again.”

Limehouse said the probation office will now prepare a pre-sentence report and calculate a sentencing guideline range.

Limehouse said the range is based on several factors, including the total amount of money stolen, which court documents say amounts to more than $10.5 million in Murdaugh’s case.

“We’re pleased to report that Alex feels good about this, and, obviously, he’s going to be sentenced for it. It’ll be substantial time, but he’s willing to accept that,” said defense attorney Dick Harpootlian, who estimated it could be one to two months before the pre-sentencing report is complete.

Harpootlian and attorney Jim Griffin said the plea agreement was worked out over a number of meetings with the government and with Murdaugh in prison.

“I think he’s relieved,” Harpootlian said. “Honestly, there’s two things Alex will tell you. One, he stole the money. Two, he did not kill Maggie and Paul.”