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Revealing deposition claims Alex Murdaugh told man to keep quiet about who was driving boat before deadly crash

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 4:16 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - New court documents filed Wednesday revealed why Connor Cook told attorneys the Murdaughs and some law enforcement officers may have been trying to frame him as the driver of a boat involved in a deadly crash in Beaufort County in 2019. A young woman, Mallory Beach, was killed, and Paul Murdaugh was ultimately charged with felony boating under the influence in connection with the crash. He was awaiting trial for his involvement before he was found murdered outside his family’s home in June, along with his mother.

Cook told attorneys he lied to investigators about knowing who was driving the boat when it crashed because he was told by Alex Murdaugh, Paul’s father, that he “didn’t need to tell anyone who was driving,” a deposition revealed.

Cook testified that Alex stopped him in the hallway of Beaufort Memorial Hospital after the crash and told him “that everything was going to be all right. I just needed to keep my mouth shut and tell them I didn’t know who was driving and that he’s got me.”

Cook told the deposing attorneys he was “scared” to tell investigators the truth because he “found out someone was trying to pin the crash on him.” This concern sparked Cook’s pre-suit petition filed in July that claimed some officers from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office were possibly conspiring to frame Cook as the boat’s driver when it crashed.

During his deposition, which was originally recorded on Jan. 13, 2020, Cook told attorneys that Paul Murdaugh had called his grandfather from the crash scene.

“I heard his grandad ask him who was driving, and he told his grandad that I was,” Cook said.

Attorneys then asked, “at the time you gave the statement, sounded like you knew somebody was going to blame you or somebody was going to point a finger at you?”

Cook replied, “Yes.”

The deposition was released Wednesday as evidence attached to SCDNR’s response to Cook’s pre-suit petition. The department claimed Cook’s petition was potentially frivolous and unnecessary, considering he had not filed any formal complaint against the department in court, and he admitted to lying to investigators.

“A wide-ranging, discovery fishing expedition would not alter the fact that Connor Cook has suffered no damages. The only person charged…was the late Paul Murdaugh,” court documents stated. “As Connor Cook’s testimony reveals, he lied early and often to investigators, refusing, even to this day, to provide a statement to SCDNR indicating he knew Paul Murdaugh was driving.”

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