COLUMBIA, SC — The South Carolina Supreme Court wants to revoke attorney Alex Murdaugh’s license, saying there is overwhelming evidence he stole millions of dollars from his clients, even though more than 70 criminal charges against the eminent lawyer have not been resolved.
The shooting deaths of Murdaugh’s wife, Maggie, and son, Paul, more than a year ago are also unsolved. No one has been charged in their deaths, leading to at least half a dozen investigations into Murdaugh, his family and his finances that culminated in indictments that Murdaugh stole $8.5 million dollars to the people who hired him.
Murdaugh permanently losing his attorney’s license would be a blow to a family that has dominated the legal scene in tiny Hampton County for nearly a century. Murdaugh’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather served as elected prosecutors for 87 consecutive years.
Alex Murdaugh previously worked for the family-founded law firm, which has boasted more than a dozen verdicts in civil cases worth more than $1 million. The company said in September that Murdaugh was stealing money.
In its order Thursday, the state Supreme Court also cited charges against Murdaugh for filing a false police and fraud report when he claimed someone shot him while he was changing a tire on the edge of a lonely two-lane road in Hampton County.
Police say Murdaugh later admitted he had paid someone to try to kill him so his surviving son could collect a $10 million life insurance policy, but the bullet did not. just brush his head.
Murdaugh also signed a civil settlement that held him responsible for taking more than $4.3 million from insurance settlements intended for the family of his housekeeper Gloria Satterfield, who Murdaugh said died after a fall in the family home.
“Based on these admissions, there is no factual dispute as to whether the respondent engaged in dishonest conduct,” Chief Justice Don Beatty wrote in his order, also citing statements from liability for taking money from clients made by Murdaugh’s attorneys in bond hearings.
Murdaugh has one last chance to avoid losing his law degree. Judges ordered him to leave the Richland County Jail where he is being held on $7 million bail and appear before them on Wednesday morning to explain why he should not be disbarred.
Murdaugh’s attorney, Jim Griffin, told the media he would not challenge the ruling, but it was unclear whether Murdaugh would still have to appear before the state Supreme Court in person.
The June 7, 2021, anniversary of the deaths of Murdaugh’s wife, Maggie, 52, and son Paul, 22, passed without arrests and without further information from state police, who n revealed little beyond the fact that the two were shot outside their Colleton County home. and Murdaugh called 911, saying he had discovered the bodies.
Murdaugh’s lawyers continue to insist he had nothing to do with the murders and was visiting his sick mother and father when his wife and son were killed.
Murdaugh’s legal troubles may continue to escalate. The state law enforcement division received permission from Satterfield’s family to exhume his body as they continue to investigate his death, the agency said in a statement dated 3 June.
Satterfield died in hospital after her fall and the coroner’s office said they were not notified of her death as they should be for anyone who died under unusual or suspicious circumstances.
After his death, Murdaugh negotiated with his insurance to secure more than $4 million in wrongful death claims he claims for Satterfield’s family. He never sent them a dime, instead diverting the money to his own accounts with the help of friends who were lawyers or bankers, according to indictments and filings in civil lawsuits.
Around the same time Murdaugh’s expungement order was issued on Thursday, the Satterfield family in Hampton County announced that they would use at least $75,000 from their settlement to start Gloria’s Gift Foundation to support provide Christmas gifts or a special meal to needy people in the community.
Ginger Harriott Hadwin said her sister loves Christmas and the way it brings families together and would have loved helping people who might be afraid they can’t afford to celebrate.
“She had a heart full and pure of kindness and love for everyone she met,” said Gloria’s sister, Ginger Harriott Hadwin. “She was more than just a housekeeper for the Murdaughs.”