Alex Murdaugh ‘happy to be pleading guilty’ to financial crimes
BEAUFORT, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Alex Murdaugh accepted a plea deal in court in Beaufort County on Friday during a hearing for his financial crimes.
Murdaugh, who is serving two life sentences for the murders of his son Paul and wife Maggie, was also facing more than 100 financial charges for stealing millions from clients of his former law firm.
His trial was scheduled to begin on Monday, Nov. 27. However, Murdaugh’s defense had asked for the trial to be pushed back or relocated, citing concerns about obtaining an impartial jury.
A motion filed earlier this week says out of 167 jury questionnaires, 147 people admitted having knowledge of Murdaugh’s crimes.
Court began shortly before 10:30 a.m., however, Judge Clifton Newman announced they were going into an immediate recess to discuss matters.
When court resumed around 1:30 p.m., the state announced that a plea agreement was reached with Murdaugh, who would admit to the financial crimes. Murdaugh said he was “happy to be pleading guilty” to the crimes and believed he would be convicted if the case went to trial.
“I agree that I wrongly took all that money, your honor,” Murdaugh said. “I disagree with some of the narrative but not the essential elements of the facts of the crimes.”
“This is a win for the victims and for justice in South Carolina,” said Attorney General Alan Wilson. “We hope the families he betrayed and stole from feel a little peace that he is going to serve time for those crimes. It doesn’t matter your last name, your position, or your connections - no one is above the law in South Carolina.”
Among others, Murdaugh is accused of stealing money owed to the sons of his former housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who died in a fall at the family’s home in 2018.
Bland Richter LLP, which has represented Murdaugh’s financial victims like the Satterfields, released a statement saying in part: “Justice is rarely pretty or perfect, but there should be no confusion that justice was served in this case. Sentencing for this plea of guilt will be in the near future. Alex’s victims will get a chance to look Alex Murdaugh and his lawyers in the eye and tell them how they feel about him, how he manipulated them, and the damage that they have done in their lives.”
The next hearing for Murdaugh is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 28.
For full coverage of the Murdaugh cases and related Lowcountry investigations, visit the Tangled Web: Lowcountry section.
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