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Alex Murdaugh Suspended from Practicing Law in S.C. After Being Accused of Misappropriating Funds and Entering Rehab


Alex Murdaugh appears in a WCBD-TV screengrab.

The Supreme Court of South Carolina has acted quickly to suspend Richard Alexander “Alex” Murdaugh, 53, from practicing law in the Palmetto State in the wake of the attorney’s high-profile resignation from his law firm, an allegation about the misappropriation of funds, ongoing investigations into the murders of his wife and son, and another shooting.

The court issued an order on Wednesday saying that Murdaugh was suspended until further notice.

“The Office of Disciplinary Counsel asks this Court to place Respondent on interim suspension,” the court began. “Respondent consents to the issuance of an order of interim suspension in this matter.”

“IT IS ORDERED that Respondent’s license to practice law in this state is suspended until further order of this Court,” the Sept. 8 order said.

Murdaugh, who was reportedly shot in the head on Saturday, exited from the law firm Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, Detrick (PMPED) after it was alleged that he misappropriated funds. The shooting occurred the day after Murdaugh’s ouster from the family firm. The law firm confirmed Murdaugh’s resignation on Monday, saying: “This is disappointing news for all of us. Rest assured that our firm will deal with this in a straightforward manner. There’s no place in our firm for such behavior. Due to the ongoing investigations into these matters and client confidentiality, PMPED cannot comment further at this time. We encourage any client with questions to contact our offices regarding their file.”

Murdaugh, citing the strain of his wife and son’s murders, announced that he was entering “rehab” and has “made a lot of decisions” he regrets.

“The murders of my wife and son have caused an incredibly difficult time in my life,” he said. “I have made a lot of decisions that I truly regret. I’m resigning from my law firm and entering rehab after a long battle that has been exacerbated by these murders. I am immensely sorry to everyone I’ve hurt including my family, friends and colleagues. I ask for prayers as I rehabilitate myself and my relationships.”

As recently as June, the attorney’s wife and son — Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, 52, and their son, Paul Murdaugh, 22 — were shot and killed at the family’s lodge, known as “Moselle.” It was Alex Murdaugh who found them and called 911.

“My wife and child were shot badly,” he said.

Murdaugh, the scion of a local legal dynasty, was reportedly shot on Saturday and once again called 911. He reportedly sustained “a superficial gunshot wound to the head.”

Murdaugh’s attorney Jim Griffin confirmed that his client has been accused of “diverting lawyer fees.” Griffin noted that Murdaugh was out of the hospital and had voluntarily entered rehab.

“Alex resigned after being accused of diverting lawyer fees from the firm,” Griffin said in a Tuesday statement to the Associated Press. “These allegations prompted him to confront a dependency and he voluntarily checked into an in-patient substance abuse rehab facility after being discharged from the hospital today.”

As of early June, Alex Murdaugh’s son Paul Murdaugh was a suspect in the Feb. 2019 boating incident that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach. Murdaugh was facing three criminal charges from that local tragedy. The charges were dropped after Paul Murdaugh died. There is, however, still an extant obstruction of justice investigation related to that boat crash and alleged subsequent efforts to cover up what happened on the night in question. The Murdaugh family’s longstanding power and influence in the area has only fueled suspicions of a cover up attempt.

State police have remained tight-lipped about the double murders that occurred at the palatial 1,770-acre hunting lodge. Alex Murdaugh was just miles away from that lodge when he was shot on Saturday.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) also announced in late June that they were taking over the investigation into the 2015 murder of 19-year-old Stephen Smith. Per WCBD:

On July 8th, 2015, Stephen Smith’s body was found in the middle of Sandy Run Road in Hampton County. Smith, who many connected to Buster Murdaugh — the eldest Murdaugh son — in interviews with law enforcement, was discovered with a large would to his head. Investigators were unable to find a suspect and the case went cold until 2021. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) announced that they were reopening Smith’s case based on information uncovered during the Murdaugh double-homicide investigation.

Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.

[Image via Alex Murdaugh appears in a WCBD-TV screengrab]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.