Judge limits how Alex Murdaugh reviews evidence before trial – InsuranceNewsNet

COLOMBIA, South Carolina (AP)—A Caroline from the south the judge sided with prosecutors who asked him to put in place strict controls on how by Alex Murdaugh the defense can review evidence before trial for the murder of the disgraced lawyer in the deaths of his wife and son.

Monday’s contentious hearing began with the interruption by one of Murdaugh’s lawyers from the Deputy Attorney General Creighton Waters less than 30 seconds after he started speaking saying that prosecutors were “trying to hijack this procedure”.

Ultimately, Circuit Judge Clifton Newman sided with prosecutors and their desire for rules to ensure evidence is not released before Murdaugh’s trial in January for the June 2021 shootings of his wife and son.

Defence lawyer Dick Harpootlian said the rules were unfair because they limit who the defense can show evidence to and how they deal with documents, photos and recordings.

The defense said the protective order was not needed because someone in the attorney general’s office was leaking information as an unnamed source about possible blood spatter on Murdaugh’s clothing, which Murdaugh could have lure his wife to their home County of Colleton before the shooting saying his father was sick and a light video of the house the source hinted was taken moments before the murders.

“I trust Mr. Waters. I don’t trust the rest of his office,” Harpootlian said Monday during the court hearing. Colleton County Courthouse.

Waters and Attorney General Alain Wilson denied disclosing any information. Waters suggested on Monday that attorneys for others who testified before grand juries investigating Murdaugh for the murders and a number of financial crimes were behind any leaks.

The evidence includes autopsy and crime scene photos, phone records, GPS data, witness statements and thousands of other pages that an unscrupulous media outlet could afford. $1 million or more to get, Waters said.

“This case is unique and unprecedented in Caroline from the south story insofar as it combines a violent crime with the alleged corruption of someone with a law degree on a somewhat inconceivable scale,” Waters said.

Murdaugh, who sat at the defense table, said nothing during the hearing.

Murdaugh, 54, remains in jail awaiting trial. Investigators say he killed his wife, Maggie, 52, with a gun and his son Paul, 22, with a shotgun. Prosecutors did not disclose what evidence linked Murdaugh to the murders or a possible motive. Murdaugh’s lawyers have said he categorically denies killing them.

Murdaugh and his family ruled the lowercase legal world Hampton County near where the killings took place for almost a century. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather served as the region’s elected prosecutors for 87 years, while his family also built one of the largest small-town law firms in Caroline from the south over the past century.

Shield rules mean Murdaugh cannot examine evidence while in protective custody in jail unless his lawyers are with him.

Mr Murdaugh, who is a lawyer, can help us if he has time to examine it in his cell. He doesn’t want to see crime scene photos, your honor. It’s the last thing in the world he wants to see,” said Jim Griffinanother of Murdaugh’s lawyers.

“He was a lawyer,” Waters replied, emphasizing the past.

Murdaugh lost his lawyer’s license earlier this year before being charged in July with killing his wife and son. The murder charges aren’t Murdaugh’s only legal troubles. He also faces about 90 other charges, most of which are financial crimes.

Prosecutors say he stole at least $8.5 million settlements he obtained for about a dozen poorer clients in cases of wrongful injury or death. He was recently indicted on charges he stole from the family’s law firm and his own brother, who is an attorney there.

Authorities also said he also laundered money through a drug ring and by writing 437 checks worth $2.4 million to partners and others to avoid bank reporting requirements. Murdaugh also tried to convince a man to kill him so his surviving son could retrieve a $10 million life insurance policy, investigators said.

Follow Jeffrey Collins on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JSColinsAP.

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