Alex Murdaugh Trial Live: Defendant Confronted Over $792k Missing Law Firm Fees Hours Before Murders
Alex Murdaugh cries as court shows video of the kennels before the murders
Prosecutors in Alex Murdaugh’s trial have begun pointing to a potential motive for the murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul, bringing up the disgraced lawyer’s alleged financial misdeeds for the first time on Wednesday.
Judge Clifton Newman is expected to rule on Thursday whether or not such financial evidence can be admitted, and prosecutors stress that it is important to establish motive while the defense wants it thrown out.
This comes after a glitzy day at the Colleton County courthouse in South Carolina, where footage casts doubt on Murdaugh’s alibi.
Cell phone footage taken by Paul at the pound minutes before the murders revealed three voices: Paul, Maggie and a man prosecutors say is Mr. Murdaugh.
In dramatic testimony, two of Paul’s friends told jurors they are “100 percent sure” the third voice belongs to Mr. Murdaugh. The disbarred attorney has claimed that he was napping at his house at the time.
A second video, sent via Snapchat by Paul an hour before the murders, also shows Murdaugh dressed in a button-down shirt and pants, different clothing than what he wears on the police body camera after the murders.
Watch the trial live at the independentyoutube channel
Mr. Harpootlian argues that it would be difficult to throw a phone from the driver’s window across a lane of highway so that it landed approximately 15-20 feet from the edge of the road, about 40 feet total.
Mr. Hightower says he could easily hit that pitch left-handed. When asked if he would throw it over or under his arm, Hightower says that he would do neither and he would throw it horizontally.
In previous testimonials, there was a lot of discussion about targeting the phone based on event log data. If the phone had been moved horizontally from a car window with the screen off, there would have been no change in orientation as the datalog shows.
Once the phone was found, Hightower put it into airplane mode and delivered it to SLED in an evidence bag. He didn’t have the access code for the phone, so he couldn’t have entered it.
It is possible to put a phone in airplane mode without unlocking it.
Oliver O’ConnellFebruary 2, 2023 20:38
On cross-examination, defense attorney Dick Harpootlian asks if police had put up roadblocks or warned people about a possible active shooter and asks about a statement from the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office that there is no danger to the public. .
Hightower says he is not aware of any such statement (as others have testified).
Regarding the location of Maggie’s phone, Mr. Harpootlian points out that no one measured the exact position of the phone. Mr. Hightower says he was able to find the location to within a few feet based on photos taken of her location.
Oliver O’ConnellFebruary 2, 2023 20:23
When he compared the contents of Alex Murdaugh’s phone to Verizon’s call data, he noticed that on the date in question (June 7) there were only 2 FaceTime calls logged versus 73 calls in Verizon’s logs.
Previous testimonials pointed out that only a user can delete calls from the log. The calls began to register again on the morning of June 8.
Oliver O’ConnellFebruary 2, 2023 20:09
On June 10, 2021, Hightower visited the home of John Marvin Murdaugh to extract phone content from Alex, Buster, and Randy’s devices while they were being interviewed by SLED.
After those three extractions, the family received word that Randolph Murdaugh’s condition was worsening and they went to the hospital.
It did a basic extraction of the phones surface (call logs, messages, images, videos, not necessarily location information) which takes around 30 minutes. A complete extraction takes much longer.
Oliver O’Connell2 February 2023 20:00
The morning after the murders, Hightower went to Murdaugh’s home after a briefing at SLED’s regional headquarters in Walterboro, Colleton County.
He testifies that it is not uncommon for him to respond to crime or murder scenes.
Mr. Hightower toured the area of the kennel that had been turned over by the SLED crime scene investigation unit. He took photos of the scene with a drone and then tried to locate Maggie’s phone, having established that Paul’s phone was found on her body.
Using a family phone (believed to be Buster’s), Mr. Hightower used “Find My iPhone” to search for the phone, eventually getting into his vehicle with John Marvin Murdaugh and two investigators and leaving the property when they noticed notice how far away the device was.
Eventually, they located the phone approximately half a mile from the property, got out of the vehicles, and proceeded to search for it on foot.
He took photos from the phone about 15-20 feet away from Moselle Road in the brush and leaves. She did not touch the phone and alerted the team.
Oliver O’ConnellFebruary 2, 2023 19:46
New Witness: Dylan Hightower, Office of the Attorney for the 14th Circuit
The next witness is Dylan Hightower, an investigator for the 14th Circuit Attorney’s Office.
He was responsible for downloading the contents of Alex Murdaugh’s phone a few days after the murders.
Mr. Murdaugh is associated as a volunteer associate attorney with the 14th Circuit. Hightower has worked on a trial in which Murdaugh and his father were prosecutors.
Oliver O’ConnellFebruary 2, 2023 19:28
Court back in session
Court resumed after the lunch break, and the jury re-entered.
Judge Newman says there will be approximately two hours with the jury in the courtroom this afternoon for non-financial crime witnesses and then proceedings will continue without them.
He also suggested potentially telling the jury to be late tomorrow so that discussions about the evidence and motive for the financial crimes can continue.
Oliver O’ConnellFebruary 2, 2023 19:23
Law firm CFO recalls Murdaugh’s ‘dirty look’ when confronted about lack of money
The former partner in Alex Murdaugh’s law firm recalled how he gave her a “dirty look” when she confronted him about missing payments worth a staggering $792,000 on the day his wife and son were murdered.
Jeanne Seckinger, chief financial officer of Murdaugh’s former law firm PMPED, testified in the Colleton County courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina, Thursday at his trial in the murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul.
She told the court how she discovered the now-disbarred 54-year-old lawyer was embezzling millions of dollars from his legal clients, moving money into a phony business and into his own personal accounts.
raquel sharp has the details.
Oliver O’ConnellFebruary 2, 2023 18:55
Damn Snapchat Video Shows Murdaugh Wearing Different Clothes Before The Murders
During his high-profile murder trial Wednesday, jurors at the Colleton County Courthouse in South Carolina They were shown a Snapchat video taken by Murdaugh’s son, Paul, at 7:56 p.m. on the night of June 7, 2021.
The video, sent to Paul’s friend Will Loving, shows Murdaugh on the grounds of the family estate watching a small tree fall limply to the ground.
Oliver O’ConnellFebruary 2, 2023 18:35
Court breaks for lunch
Judge Newman asks prosecutor Creighton Waters what’s next.
Waters said he has more witnesses to the financial aspect of the plea argument: Murdaugh’s legal assistant, Michael Gunn, a director of Forge Consulting; and Murdaugh’s lawyer and friend, Chris Wilson, set to testify without a jury present.
Defense attorney Jim Griffin argues that Ms Seckinger’s testimony shows that these financial crimes are not admissible in the murder case and says that admitting this line of evidence will add more than two weeks to the trial.
Waters says he can simplify the state’s case regarding financial crimes, saying, “It’s not the state’s intent to try a hundred white-collar cases in the context of this one murder case.”
The state argues that it is important to establish what was going on in Mr. Murdaugh’s life before June 7, 2021.
Saying he doesn’t want the jury to sit idle, Judge Newman says the prosecution can call non-financial crime witnesses in the afternoon with the jury present.
The hearing on financial crimes will continue today or tomorrow without the jury.
The court breaks for lunch and will return at 2:15 p.m.
Oliver O’ConnellFebruary 2, 2023 18:15