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Feds Claim Alex Murdaugh Violated Plea Agreement by Failing Polygraph Test

The disbarred South Carolina attorney convicted of murdering his wife and son is now accused of lying about millions of missing dollars.

By Jax Miller

Federal prosecutors seek to withdraw a plea deal made with disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh on the grounds that he allegedly lied during a polygraph test, therefore violating the terms of the plea, per reports.

Did Alex Murdaugh fail a polygraph test?

On Tuesday, March 26, 2024, authorities alleged Murdaugh failed a polygraph test in October 2023 when asked by F.B.I. agents over the whereabouts of stolen monies totaling more than $6 million, according to court documents obtained by The Associated Press. On top of the stolen money, for which Murdaugh pleaded guilty on September 21, 2023, feds claim the defendant was also untruthful about the alleged criminal involvement of a second, unidentified attorney.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina did not release the exact questions Murdaugh allegedly lied about. However, Murdaugh’s defense team filed a sentencing memorandum on Thursday, March 28, 2024, to have the test results unsealed by the prosecution, according to CNN.

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“To allow the Government to publicly accuse Murdaugh of breaching his plea agreement while also allowing the Government to hide all purported evidence supporting that accusation from the public would violate the public’s right to the truth,” per the memorandum.

Prosecutors stated their intentions to keep the results under wraps, citing an ongoing investigation by a grand jury.

In Thursday’s filing, the defense further claimed that the person who administered October’s polygraph engaged in “odd conduct,” essentially invalidating the results.

Alex Murdaugh's Sentence

The once-prominent lawyer from South Carolina’s dynastic Murdaugh family was found guilty in March 2023 of murdering his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and their youngest son, Paul Murdaugh, 22. Mother and son were found shot to death on June 7, 2021, near the dog kennels of their sprawling estate’s hunting compound in rural Colleton County.

For the violent crimes, Murdaugh was sentenced to two life sentences behind bars.

Federal authorities who alternatively oversaw the prosecution of his financial-related crimes said Murdaugh killed his relatives to ward off “personal, legal, and financial ruin,” as legal troubles mounted for the embattled attorney.

On Sept. 21, 2023, Murdaugh pleaded guilty to 22 federal counts of fraud and money laundering, confessing to defrauding personal injury clients between 2005 and 2021 for his own gain (including as a means of supporting his admitted opioid addiction). According to The Associated Press, prosecutors believed Murdaugh stole upwards of $12 million, half of which is still unaccounted for and the focus of October’s polygraph interview.

Murdaugh pleaded guilty on November 17, 2023, for similar state-level financial crimes and was sentenced to 27 years in prison. Two associates, Cory Fleming and Russell Laffitte, were also convicted of money-related offenses connected to the defendant.

RELATED: What Were Some of the Key Pieces of Evidence at the Alex Murdaugh Crime Scene? Expert Witness Weighs In

The Murdaugh murders gained massive media attention, and a webby, complex saga unraveled, drawing attention to the suspected 2015 homicide of Stephen Smith, the suspicious 2018 death of the Murdaughs’ housekeeper Gloria Satterfield, the 2019 boating accident resulting in the death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach, and Alex Murdaugh’s botched assisted suicide, among other things.

The case was the subject of the true crime special, Alex Murdaugh: Death. Deception. Power., now available to watch on Oxygen.

Alex Murdaugh Leaving Court Handcuffs

What would it mean if feds revoked the plea deal?

Though Murdaugh has been sentenced in connection to his wife and son’s murders, as well as the state financial crimes, he has yet to be sentenced in accordance with the federal plea deal, which was scheduled for Monday, April 1, 2024, according to CNN.

The deal mandated Murdaugh be honest about the missing $6 million, though Murdaugh “denies the allegation” of lying during the polygraph test, according to the memorandum.

Now, prosecutors aim for the harshest sentence possible, with each of the 22 federal counts carrying up to 20 to 30 years in prison. Furthermore, revocation of the plea deal would mean prosecutors could withdraw any recommendation that could allow Murdaugh to serve the federal sentence concurrently with his state sentences, something he was afforded in his original plea deal.

Meanwhile, Murdaugh’s camp said the person giving the polygraph had an “odd” affect, allegedly asserting his belief that Alex Murdaugh was innocent of murder during pre-test interviews. Thursday’s memo accused the individual of asking questions “in such a way” that it would “ensure that Murdaugh would fail the exam.”

Murdaugh’s defense also challenged how specific terms were defined, including “hidden assets.”

To learn more about the case, watch the true crime special, Alex Murdaugh: Death. Deception. Power., now available on Oxygen.