Wednesday’s testimony from witnesses in disbarred South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh’s murder trial supported earlier statements made by the chief financial officer of his former law firm, who had talked about learning of the alleged financial crimes that the prosecution claims may have contributed to the deaths of his wife and son.
The murders of Murdaugh’s wife, Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, and his son Paul, 22, on June 7, 2021, were charged with two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent felony. Murdaugh has entered a not-guilty plea to both counts.
The night of the murders, Murdaugh dialed 911 to report finding his wife and son shot to death at the family’s Moselle farm in Islandton, South Carolina. The defense has depicted Murdaugh as a devoted parent and husband who is being tried for a crime after a botched investigation while the real murderers are still at large.
According to court documents, the deaths were carried out by Murdaugh to draw attention away from several allegedly illegal activities he was allegedly undertaking to prevent “personal legal and financial collapse.”
According to the state attorney general, Murdaugh is also accused of 99 suspected financial offenses in addition to the murder allegations. On January 25, remarks were made in the opening.
Jeanne Seckinger, the chief financial officer of Murdaugh’s previous legal company, has testified that she was concerned that Murdaugh was trying to conceal assets to prevent their disclosure about “the boat case.” Murdaugh was being sued at the time of the killings for a boat accident in February 2019 that claimed the life of Mallory Beach, a 19-year-old. The boat belonged to Murdaugh, and Paul Murdaugh is said to have been operating it at the time of the collision.
The state has argued in pre-trial filings that Alex Murdaugh was due to appear at a hearing in that case on June 10, 2019, which may have resulted in the disclosure of his accounts and exposed his alleged financial wrongdoings. However, the hearing was postponed after Maggie and Paul were assassinated three days in advance.
According to her testifies from last week, the Seckinger questioned Murdaugh about $792,000 in funds that were supposed to be collected by the firm but were missing on the morning of June 7, 2019, hours before the killings took place and Tuesday.
According to Seckinger, the law firm PMPED, now known as Parker Law Group, discovered Murdaugh was embezzling money and transferring it to a personal account with the name “Forge,” which is a name that sounds similar to that of a legitimate financial services company called Forge Consulting LLC. According to Seckinger, the company frequently worked with Forge Consulting to set up structured annuities for plaintiffs’ settlements and legal bills.
One of Murdaugh’s paralegals, Annette Griswold, supported Seckinger’s testimony on Wednesday by announcing to the court that she would create disbursement papers indicating the fees and expenses that would be subtracted from a settlement. According to Griswold, Murdaugh occasionally requested that she mark certain costs as “Forge” on her disbursement sheets.
“I can’t remember when it started, but he told me to put it on Forge, and me, knowing Forge Consulting was a legitimate company, I would put Forge Consulting,” Griswold testified. “And he would say, ‘No, it’s not Forge Consulting. If I wanted it to be Forge Consulting, I would have told you Forge Consulting. I want it to be Forge.’”
However, she testified, the company’s accounts payable division would continue to make checks payable to Forge Consulting rather than Forge. Murdaugh would also insist on personally delivering the cheques to Michael Gunn, the lawyer’s contact at Forge Consulting.
She said Griswold, who claimed it was common for Murdaugh to lose items, started putting entries in her files claiming Murdaugh had promised to send those checks.
- New Jersey Woman Arrested, Charged For Murdering Husband!
- EMS Workers: After A Patient Dies At The Hospital, EMS Personnel Are Charged With Murder!
Whether Gunn, a principal, and consultant with Forge Consulting, ever got a hand-delivered cheque from Murdaugh was put to him in court on Wednesday. Not, Gunn affirmed in court.
Gunn testified that Murdaugh was never permitted to use the term Forge for his purposes and that Forge Consulting has no subsidiaries with the name “Forge” in the title.
He claimed that Gunn didn’t discover a problem until September 2021. A partner at Murdaugh’s company called Gunn at that point, according to Murdaugh, and offered him a list of 10 or 12 names, asking whether Gunn could describe what Forge Consulting had done for those clients.
Witness Claims That Murdaugh’s Car May Have Been Used On The Night of The Murders
The last witness on Wednesday discussed the features of the Chevy Suburban that Alex Murdaugh, according to the police, was allegedly driving the night of the murders.
Electronics engineer Dwight Falkofske, one of the witnesses, claimed to have been able to extract encrypted data from the entertainment and OnStar systems. Falkofske claimed to have access to call logs, contacts, and other data that could be used to determine when the car was in and out of the park.
The timeframe he provided covered the murderous evening from 9:06 to 10:13. There are eight instances of the car being moved out of the park. Falkofske said the data could not establish whether the vehicle was genuinely being driven.
A witness claimed that Murdaugh visited his ailing mother the night of the murders in the village of Almeda, which is located around 15 minutes from Islandton.
At least three other witnesses have stated that they heard Alex Murdaugh’s voice on a video that Paul Murdaugh allegedly began recording on his phone at 8:44 p.m., according to officials.
An investigator stated that the video appears to have been shot near the kennels owned by the Murdaugh family, where Maggie and Paul’s remains would have been discovered. The law enforcement expert stated that a message was read from Maggie Murdaugh’s phone at 8:49 p.m. The phone’s display shut off at 8:53 p.m.
According to the prosecution, Alex was present at the crime site when the voices in Paul’s video were recorded. In conversations with law enforcement, Murdaugh has insisted he wasn’t at the kennels. To report the killings, Alex Murdaugh dialed 911 at 10:07 p.m., according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
Ronnie Crosby, a close friend and former law partner of Murdaugh’s, testified on Tuesday that Murdaugh had informed him that, following the killings, he had had dinner with Maggie and Paul before passing out on a couch as the two proceeded to the kennels.
Crosby testified that Murdaugh informed him that after he got up, he went to see his mother at his parent’s residence before returning home to find Maggie and Paul shot to death.
Crosby is one of the witnesses who asserted that Paul’s film clearly shows Alex Murdaugh’s voice. Wednesday, during cross-examination, defense attorney Phillip Barber questioned Falkofske about whether passing the car while carrying a key fob could cause the system to turn on. Falkofske replied on Wednesday, “It’s possible, but we did not look into that. Falkofske was on the witness stand when the court adjourned, and more cross-examining of him will begin on Thursday morning.