Judge denies Alex Murdaugh’s request for lower bond
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - A judge denied a request from Alex Murdaugh to lower his bond on dozens of charges.
An order filed Tuesday by State Grand Jury Presiding Judge Alison Renee Lee states that the court finds “the current bond is reasonable to assure [Murdaugh’s] appearance in court as Defendant remains a flight risk and potential danger to himself and the community.”
Prosecutors have accused the prominent South Carolina attorney of stealing more than $6.2 million from about a dozen clients between 2015 and 2020 by using a fraudulent bank account to divert settlement and other money to himself.
Lee listened to an hour-and-a-half of testimony on Jan. 10 in which Murdaugh’s defense and the prosecution called multiple witnesses.
Lee had set a $7 million surety bond for Murdaugh on Dec. 13 on a total of 48 charges from multiple state grand jury indictments. That bond also included GPS monitoring, house arrest and a requirement that he surrender his passport and waive extradition if he leaves the state. Lee had also required Murdaugh to undergo substance abuse counseling and random drug testing at a residential facility within the state.
During that hearing, defense attorney Dick Harpootlian told the court any significant surety bond would be “the same as no bond,” adding the idea that Murdaugh is a threat to the community was “bogus.”
“He has no cash. When he needed money for his son, his only solution was to have himself shot in the head,” Harpootlian said, referencing the failed suicide for hire plot in 2021.
Prosecutor Creighton Waters called Murdaugh’s case a “unique” one for his connections as part of an influential family in South Carolina law, and argued that the danger to the community is real. Waters told the court that Murdaugh’s victims have experienced backlash in going against Murdaugh family.
Copyright 2022 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.