Alex Murdaugh has accepted he is going to jail for embezzling millions of dollars from his dead housekeeper’s family but did not kill his wife and son, his lawyer says.
Dick Harpootlan told Good Morning America that Mr Murdaugh had done “stupid, illegal things” due to his opioid addiction but insisted he had “no involvement or knowledge” of the murder of his wife Maggie and son Paul at a family property in June.
Mr Murdaugh was arrested at an Orlando addiction treatment center on Thursday accused of stealing $3 million, which was awarded to the sons of his former maid Gloria Satterfield, 57, who died at the family’s South Carolina home in 2018.
At the time her death was considered to be an accidental fall, but it is now one of five deaths linked to the Murdaughs, part of a powerful South Carolina legal dynasty, that are being investigated by law enforcement.
Ms Satterfield’s sons were awarded $4 million after a wrongful death lawsuit, but say Mr Murdaugh pocketed most of it, with the remaining $1 million going on legal fees.
Mr Murdaugh and has been named as a person of interest in his wife and son’s killings, and is facing charges of trying to orchestrate his own murder as part of a $10 million insurance fraud scheme.
Appearing on GMA on Friday, Mr Harpootlan said his client did not deny illegally taking the money but said he was not a murderer.
“Obviously the financial issue is something he regrets. He is going to try to right every wrong, financial wrong ... he is reconciled to the fact he is going to prison,” Mr Harpootlan said.
“He understands that. He is a lawyer – he gets it.”
But Mr Harpootlan pinned his client’s dramatic fall from grace on a years-long addiction to opiates
“He has a long-term, OxyContin addiction, which put him in a position where he did these stupid illegal things.”
Mr Harpootlan claimed that the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) appeared to be fixated on charging Mr Murdaugh with murder.
“They keep trying to pound that square peg in a round hole. Someone out there is responsible for the horrible, almost execution-style deaths of Maggie and Paul,” he said.
“It is not Alex.”
Mr Harpootlan says he is being wrongly suspected because he is the one who found Maggie and Paul dead.
“When the police show up and they find a dead wife and a dead son and a husband finds them, you know, most times, it’s going to turn out to be the husband is involved,” he said.
Mr Harpootlan also addressed the 4 September shooting, in which his client is accused of hiring Curtis Smith to shoot him dead so his surviving son Buster could claim a $10m insurance policy.
“He was put in ICU because his life was in danger as a result of being shot in the head,” the lawyer said, adding he wanted to push back against some of the “hysterical theories”.
“They don’t put people in intensive-care units these days, or any time, unless they need intensive care. He suffered a bullet wound to the head,” the lawyer added.
Hospital records from the Memorial Health in Savannah released by a spokesman for Mr Murdaugh showed he suffered two superficial wounds that appeared to be bullet wounds to the scalp.
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