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Alex Murdaugh's Lawyers Tell Judge He Doesn't Have Funds To Pay $7 Million Bond

“Mr. Murdaugh is a man who cannot pay his phone bill,” his attorneys said in the motion.

By Jill Sederstrom
Alex Murdaugh G

Alex Murdaugh’s attorneys have asked a judge to lower the disgraced legal scion’s $7 million bond, arguing that he can’t afford to pay anywhere near that amount.

“Mr. Murdaugh is a man who cannot pay his phone bill,” attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin wrote in a motion to a State Grand Jury judge, obtained by The Post and Courier, asking for a reduction in bond.

Murdaugh is facing dozens of criminal charges connected to allegations that he stole millions of dollars from his former legal clients and law firm and arranged a botched assisted suicide plot to take his own life so that his remaining surviving son could cash in on a $10 million life insurance policy.

For months, Murdaugh had been sitting behind bars without bond at all, but last month Judge Alison Renee Lee set a $7 million surety bond — one of the highest in the state’s history, according to The Island Packet.

In their latest motion, Murdaugh’s attorneys have argued the bond is so high that it’s “tantamount to no bond at all.”

They said that Murdaugh’s assets have been “placed into a receivership and are under the exclusive control of court-appointed co-receivers” because of the large number of civil lawsuits against the South Carolina attorney, leaving him with little money at his disposal.

They referenced an email from the law firm controlling his bank accounts saying he had “very little liquid assets” and noted he had less than $10,000 in two accounts at the Palmetto State Bank in Hampton, according to the motion.

Harpootlian and Griffin have argued that the bond should be reduced because the state’s constitution “guarantees every person the right to be released on bail, pending trial” except those accused of committing capital offenses, violent offenses or those offenses that are punishable by life in prison.  

“None of these charges allege violent offenses,” they wrote. “Mr. Murdaugh therefore has a constitutional right to be released on bail in an amount no higher than necessary to insure his presence at trial.”

The judge has yet to rule on the motion.

Murdaugh was arrested in October after authorities said he misappropriated $3.4 million in insurance money meant for the family of his housekeeper Gloria Satterfield. Satterfield died in Feb. of 2018 after the Murdaugh family said she tripped over the family’s dogs on their property and fell and hit her head. She was rushed to a local hospital, where she died several weeks later after suffering a stroke.

That arrest came just a month after authorities had charged Murdaugh with insurance fraud and other crimes after they said he allegedly hired Curtis “Fast Eddie” Smith to shoot him in the head along a roadway in a botched assisted suicide attempt on Sept. 4. Murdaugh, who survived the attempt, had allegedly wanted his son Buster to be able to cash in on a $10 million life insurance policy, investigators said.

Smith has denied that there was a plan and told The New York Post last year that, when he'd spotted Murdaugh with a gun, he'd tried to wrestle it away from him when it went off.

Authorities are also still investigating the deaths of Murdaugh’s wife, Maggie, 52, and youngest son, Paul, 22. Both were found shot to death on the family’s Colleton County hunting compound in June. Alex Murdaugh found their bodies.

No charges have been filed in connection with the deaths.