Judge allows Alex Murdaugh’s alleged financial crimes into evidence at murder trial, a pivotal win for the prosecution


Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman ruled. That the jury had the right to consider whether Murdoff’s “clear desperation.” Over his financial situation led him to kill his wife and son.
In a key moment in the double-murder trial of Alex Murdoff, a South Carolina judge ruled Monday. That he will allow the jury to hear evidence of financial crimes committed. By the once-powerful lawyer.

Judge allows Alex Murdaugh's alleged financial crimes into evidence at murder trial, a pivotal win for the prosecution (1)

Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman made the decision after allowing several witnesses. Including Murdoff’s former law firm colleagues and banking associates. To testify without a jury so he could decide on the merits of the allegations.

Murdoff, 54, is accused of fatally shooting his wife, Margaret, 52, and their youngest son Paul, 22. On the evening of June 7, 2021. State prosecutors claim the murders were. A cover-up for several financial misdeeds by Murdaugh. Who they say stole about $8.5 million from more than a dozen victims and tried to gain sympathy before going public.” It is entitled to consider whether Mr. Murdoff’s plain desperation. Because of the circumstances. And the threat of being exposed for the crime for which he was later charged led. To the commission of the charged crime,” Newman said. “While motive is not a necessary element, the State must prove malice. And evidence of intent can be used to prove this.”

Moordoff’s defense team objected to the judge’s ruling. His lawyers before told the court that his money was being used. Only to defame him, and that the state offered no evidence to show. That Mordoff reaped financial losses. From the deaths of his wife and son, such as life insurance payments. Or that they knew of any alleged misconduct. , which he wanted to conceal by killing them.

“They found a lot more evidence of financial misconduct. Than evidence of guilt in a murder case,” defense attorney Jim Griffin said Friday.

Newman said last week that the defense “opened the door.” To review Murdoff’s financial situation. When they asked witnesses on the stand about his character and. If there was any reason they might think Murdoff would kill. . His wife and son.

“Evidence of other crimes or wrongdoing is required. If it is an essential part of the crime to be prosecuted,” Newman said. The trial, now in its third week, has drawn attention. As a sprawling saga that began in 2021 as an unsolved double murder. But eventually unraveled into widespread allegations of financial fraud. A hitman-for-hire plot and drug addiction (crimes), and revived questions about other deaths.

At the time of his death, Paul Murdoff was awaiting trial. on three felony counts of operating a boat under the influence in a 2019. boating accident in which a 19-year-old resident was killed. Prosecutors said the case only brought more scrutiny on Murdough and financial strain. On Murdough as the family faced a wrongful-death lawsuit.

Dennis Bolt, a retired attorney in Columbia, South Carolina. Who is not involved in this case but has worked with members of Murdoff’s defense team on previous cases. Said the judge’s ruling gives the prosecution a clear advantage. “Because it allows the state to try to prove that if you Be a thief. But you yourself are a murderer.” (crimes )

But Bolt said he doesn’t believe the money-related evidence. Ahown so far proves Murdoff committed the murder. Should Murduff be found guilty, yet. the defense could cite the judge’s ruling as grounds for appeal.

“It’s interesting to me to think how the prosecution. Will use it in their closing arguments,” Bolt said of the financial crime allegations. “They can’t argue something that isn’t evidence or law. Since there’s no evidence linking financial wrongdoing to the murders. What are they going to tell the jury?” Chief Prosecutor Creighton Waters said he expects to begin introducing. The alleged financial misconduct to the jury for a hearing on Tuesday.

Among those who testified Monday was Muschel Smith. A caregiver for Murdoch’s mother, Elizabeth. Moordoff said he visited his sick mother on the night of the murder as part of his alibi.

Smith testified that it was unusual for Mordoff. To visit his mother late at night, and that in the days following the murder. He told her that “if anybody asks you, I’ve been here 30 to 40 minutes.” But he thinks he was only there for 20 minutes.

On cross-examination, Griffin testified for the defense. That Smith did not see any evidence of blood when he visited his mother.

Also at the center of Smith’s testimony was a blue tarp that he said he saw Murdoff take home in the days after the murder.

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