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Alex Murdaugh pleads guilty to 22 counts of financial fraud and money laundering

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(NEW YORK) — Disgraced attorney Alex Murdaugh pleaded guilty to 22 counts of financial fraud and money laundering in federal court on Thursday.

“He’s been totally cooperative and apologized to the victims of his theft,” Murdaugh’s lawyer, Dick Harpootlian, told reporters after the hearing. “This is, we believe, the first step for him in putting this behind him. He did not argue with a single fact. He did not argue with me to push back on any allegation.”

Murdaugh is already serving a life sentence after he was found guilty in March of fatally shooting his wife, Maggie, and their youngest son, Paul, near the family’s estate in June 2021.

In May, a federal grand jury returned a 22-count indictment against the former lawyer for bank fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.

The indictment accused Murdaugh, 54, of engaging in three different schemes to obtain money and property from his personal injury clients while he was working as a personal injury attorney at his Hampton, South Carolina, law firm between 2005 and 2021.

The schemes involved routing clients’ settlement funds to his own accounts as well as to a fake account under the name “Forge,” as well as conspiring with a banker to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. The banker, Russell Laffitte, was convicted on six federal charges in connection with the scheme in November 2022, prosecutors said.

The indictment further alleged that Murdaugh conspired with another personal injury attorney to defraud the estate of his former housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who died after a fall at Murdaugh’s home in February 2018. Prosecutors alleged Murdaugh funneled nearly $3.5 million into his fake account “for his own personal enrichment.”

Prosecutors have recommended that his sentence in the federal case be served concurrently with his anticipated state sentence for the same offenses, according to his lawyer, Jim Griffin.

Murdaugh’s lawyers would not tell reporters whether he plans to plead guilty to the state charges. He is set to appear in court for those charges on Nov. 27.

Murdaugh is serving consecutive life sentences for the murder of his wife and son, Judge Clifton Newman said during his sentencing in March. Murdaugh’s attorneys filed a motion for a new trial in the double murder case in early September, alleging a court clerk tampered with the jury.

“There’s two things Alex will tell you: One, he did steal the money. Two, he did not kill Maggie and Paul,” Harpootlian said Thursday.

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