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Law firm: Attorney Alex Murdaugh whose wife, son were killed, took money

Murdaugh checks into rehab
Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 8:01 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2021 at 11:03 AM EDT
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HAMPTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Attorney Alex Murdaugh, whose wife and son were shot to death in June at a family property in rural Colleton County, has resigned from his family law firm after being accused of diverting lawyer fees, his own attorney says.

The resignation came Monday after Murdaugh was grazed in the head in a shooting along a rural road in Hampton County over the weekend.

One of Alex Murdaugh’s lawyers, Jim Griffin said the allegations of financial impropriety have prompted Murdaugh to confront his substance dependency and voluntarily check into an in-patient substance abuse rehab facility. Griffin said Murdaugh checked into the facility after being discharged from the hospital Monday.

In a statement released through another one of Murdaugh’s attorneys, Dick Harpootlian, Murdaugh says he plans resign from his law firm and enter rehab:

The murders of my wife and son have caused an incredibly difficult time in my life. 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.

Neither Murdaugh nor Harpootlian has responded to questions about the statement.

The Peters Murdaugh Parker Eltzroth & Detrick law firm said Murdaugh is no longer associated with them.

The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office said Tuesday morning it would not comment on the Murdaugh case, citing the ongoing investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division

“SLED is investigating his shooting and I would think they would also handle any investigation into accusations of financial issues at his law firm,” Attorney General’s Office spokesman Robert Kittle said.

SLED is investigating the shooting on Old Salkehatchie Road near Varnville. SLED says Hampton County dispatch received a 911 call from Murdaugh on Saturday at 1:34 p.m. where he told dispatchers that he had been shot.

The Hampton County Sheriff’s Office secured the scene while EMS coordinated medical air transport of Murdaugh to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia for treatment of a superficial gunshot wound to the head, SLED spokesman Tommy Crosby said.

SPECIAL SECTION: Murdaugh death investigation

The Hampton County Sheriff’s Office requested SLED to lead the investigation and SLED personnel were dispatched to the scene at 2:41 p.m. with Lowcountry regional agents arriving on scene at 3:40 p.m. and crime scene agents arriving on scene at 4:30 p.m., Crosby said.

Murdaugh’s lawyer, Jim Griffin, said he spoke with members of Murdaugh’s family who said he was conscious, alert and talking, “which is a good sign.” Griffin said Murdaugh was shot in the head while changing a tire. He originally said Murdaugh was airlifted to MUSC in Charleston, then later clarified he was taken to a hospital in Savannah.

No arrests have been made in the shooting.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Murdaugh family said, “The Murdaugh family has suffered through more than any one family could ever imagine. We expect Alex to recover and ask for your privacy while he recovers.”

Saturday’s incident was the latest in a string of tragedies for the Murdaugh family, a well-known family in the Lowcountry.

Murdaugh is the father of Paul Murdaugh, 22; and the husband of Margaret Murdaugh, 52; who were found shot to death at their hunting property in the rural Colleton County community of Islandton on June 7.

SLED confirmed Alex Murdaugh discovered them after they were shot. The Murdaughs were both shot multiple times, investigators confirmed.

Days after the double shooting, the family patriarch, Randolph Murdaugh, died. He was Paul’s grandfather and Alex’s father.

The family has strong connections to the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, which serves Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper Counties.

Members of the Murdaugh family ran the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office for about 87 years. When that position became an elected position in 1920, Randolph Murdaugh Sr., Alex Murdaugh’s great grandfather, became the first man elected to the role. He served until he died in a train accident in 1940. His son, Randolph Murdaugh Jr., took over the position after his father’s death and served until his retirement in 1987.

Copyright 2021 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed ot this report. All rights reserved.