Alex Murdaugh’s attorney slams leak of jailhouse phone call

Colleton County Sheriff’s Office said the call was released due to ‘human error’ after a podcast filed a FOIA request for Murdaugh’s jailhouse calls

Rachel Sharp
Tuesday 21 March 2023 17:35 GMT
Alex Murdaugh trial judge admonishes defence attorney for Twitter post

Alex Murdaugh’s defence attorney Jim Griffin has slammed the alleged leak of a jailhouse phone call between him and the convicted killer.

The phone call, made while Murdaugh was behind bars in the custody of the state of South Carolina, was obtained by the Hidden True Crime podcast and aired on one of its episodes.

After the episode, a social media user shared a clip of the call on Twitter and raised questions as to whether or not it should remain confidential due to client-attorney confidentiality.

It was a debate that prompted a furious response from Mr Griffin, who confirmed the authenticity of the call and warned that he was “mad as hell” about it being leaked.

“It’s me and I’m mad as hell. Stay tuned,” he tweeted, hinting that he may take action over the matter.

Colleton County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that the call was released due to “human error” after the podcast had filed a FOIA request for Murdaugh’s jailhouse calls.

“The Colleton County Sheriff’s Office became aware of an attorney/client privilege call that was on social media this past weekend,” the statement read.

“The release of the attorney/client call was an inadvertent human error. The release of jail calls was a response to a FOIA request. All jail calls had to be screened by listening to the first few seconds of each call to determine if they fell under attorney/client privilege.

“Multiple calls were removed but this one call inadvertently remained in the list for release.”

The sheriff’s office said that an email was then sent out to the FOIA requestor saying that the call falls under attorney/client privilege and asking them to not share the call.

But, by that time, the call was already circulating on social media after Murdaugh’s double murder trial captured attention across the nation.

On 2 March, the disgraced attorney was convicted of killing his wife Maggie and son Paul and was sentenced to life in prison.

It was on the night of 7 June 2021 and Maggie, Paul and Murdaugh were at the dog kennels on the family’s sprawling Moselle estate.

Jim Griffin said he was ‘mad as hell’ about the leak
Jim Griffin said he was ‘mad as hell’ about the leak (Twitter)

Murdaugh – a powerful attorney and the heir to a prominent South Carolina legal dynasty – shot Paul twice with a shotgun and Maggie five times with a semiautomatic rifle in a gruesome attack.

The killer then called 911 claiming he had discovered his family’s bodies.

For 13 months, no arrests were made in the case – but their deaths catapulted a string of other scandals surrounding the family into the spotlight.

Months on from the murders, it emerged that Murdaugh had stolen millions of dollars from his law firm PMPED and its clients and was hit with a string of charges.

He also wound up at the centre of a botched hitman plot – a plot that it later transpired Murdaugh had allegedly set up.

Finally, Murdaugh was charged with his wife and son’s murders in July 2022.

In his high-profile murder trial which ended earlier this month, prosecutors said that Murdaugh killed his loved ones to prevent his slew of financial crimes from coming to light.

At the time of the killings, his law firm was zeroing in on the stolen money and a colleague had confronted him about a missing payment on the morning of the murders.

Meanwhile, a lawsuit – brought by the family of Mallory Beach, who died in a 2019 boat crash when Paul was allegedly drunk driving – threatened to expose his finances.

Following his murder conviction, the spotlight has now also turned to some other mystery deaths tied to the Murdaugh family.

Alex Murdaugh with defence attorney Jim Griffin during his double murder trial
Alex Murdaugh with defence attorney Jim Griffin during his double murder trial (Jeff Blake)

Days on from the murders, an investigation was reopened into the 2015 death of Stephen Smith, who was found dead in the middle of the road in Hampton County.

The 19-year-old had suffered blunt force trauma to the head and his death was officially ruled a hit-and-run. But Smith’s family have long doubted this version of events, with the Murdaugh name cropping up in several police tips and community rumours.

In a press conference on Monday, Smith’s mother Sandy Smith and her attorneys announced they were planning to exhume his body and conduct an independent autopsy.

Meanwhile, an investigation is also still underway into the mystery death of the Murdaugh’s longtime housekeeper Gloria Satterfield.

She died in 2018 in a mystery trip and fall accident at the family home. Murdaugh then allegedly stole around $4m in a wrongful death settlement from her sons.

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