Before Paul Murdaugh was murdered on June 7, 2021 …
Before someone — who was it? — picked up a shotgun and took aim at him …
Before his life was ended at age 22 by two very distinct decisions: pull the trigger, shot to the chest; pull the trigger, shot through the shoulder and into the head …
Before Paul Murdaugh was killed … Before he was dispatched like an animal … likely in front of his own mother …
Before all of that …
There was a girl.
And he was loved by her.
But she has been working diligently behind the scenes to help hold the power players in this case accountable to the truth and to their actions. She does not spare herself in the scrutiny as she fights for what she believes is right.
For years, she was an insider to one of the state’s most prominent families. Like any teenage girl in love, she had photos and videos documenting her first significant romantic relationship.
Now, because Alex Murdaugh and his attorneys — who represented Paul before his death — are pulling out all the stops to regain full control of Alex’s finances, Doughty has been left with little choice but to bring her receipts to the table.
In preparation for a Friday morning hearing in Lexington County, where attorneys will argue for the removal of the co-receivership tasked with combing through Alex’s finances since November, a bombshell affidavit from Doughty has been filed in Hampton County Court.
Murdaugh’s attorneys are expected to contend that the lawsuit to which the receivership is attached — a lawsuit related to a 2019 boat crash involving Paul Murdaugh — has shown no evidence that it will succeed and therefore, they argue, the receivership is unnecessary.
The receivers were appointed nearly six months ago to account for the totality of Alex’s assets because evidence suggested that the Murdaugh family was moving and hiding money from potential creditors, such as the plaintiffs in this and other cases.
In the affidavit, Doughty outlines 25 videos she has in her possession that show how Alex Murdaugh and other adults in Paul’s life were not only aware of a teenage boy’s drinking, they supported it, facilitated it and cheered him on.
On its face, the boat crash lawsuit is like any other in that plaintiffs are seeking money from defendants they say caused them harm.
But the case has become much more than that.
The boat crash complaint is ground zero when it comes to the apparent unraveling of Alex Murdaugh.
It has been the vehicle for cracking open Murdaugh’s closet of skeletons and exposing systemic, institutional and generational corruption — in law enforcement, in legal circles, in banking and in courtrooms.
And now, as an attempt is being made to dismantle a critical instrument of accountability — the receivership — a heroine has stepped forward to help stop it.
By all accounts, Paul Murdaugh was a complicated person — which is a polite way of saying ”not always likable.”
He could be charming and funny and even caring.
But stories abound of the pleasures he took in lording his family name over others — of his cruelty and recklessness, his entitlement and privilege, his terrifying temper, the chaos he created, the messes his family cleaned up for him again and again and again.
Also, of his alcoholism.
Make no mistake, it is Paul’s drinking that is at the heart of this saga.
Though charges have not yet been filed in the murders of Paul and his mother, Maggie Murdaugh, it’s not a stretch to say that without the events of Feb. 24, 2019 — when Paul allegedly drove a boat into a Beaufort County bridge, killing 19-year-old Mallory Beach and injuring four other passengers, including Doughty — there likely wouldn’t have been a June 7, 2021.
The 2019 boat crash appears to have sparked a slow burn in the Murdaugh family that ended with further tragedy.
As we all know now, Alex Murdaugh, a man who was taught from Day 1 that rules never apply to him, had a lot to hide.
While he was able to successfully cover up a multitude of alleged financial and potentially other crimes for more than a decade, he played it much more fast and loose with other aspects of his life — including his sons’ underage drinking.
According to the affidavit filed Thursday, Alex and Maggie Murdaugh regularly provided alcohol to Paul and his underage friends to consume; as a minor, Paul often used his older brother’s identification to purchase alcohol in his parents’ presence or with their knowledge; and Paul used his parents’ credit cards to pay for the alcohol he purchased illegally.
The affidavit describes 25 videos that would seem to fly in the face of any notion promoted by Murdaugh’s legal team that the “boat crash case” — which specifically cites the Murdaughs’ knowledge of Paul’s underage drinking — has no merit.
The videos described in the affidavit would be difficult to watch given Paul’s young age and level of intoxication. They depict a child who was slowly poisoning himself as the adults in his life looked on.
Here are some of the highlights from those videos, which generally depict a severely inebriated babyfaced teenager (Paul) in front of his parents or at events where his parents were present:
— On July 4, 2018, Doughty (a minor) gave a shot of alcohol to Alex Murdaugh on a boat. Alex and Maggie had provided Paul, Doughty and other minors with alcohol. A photo of this appeared on Maggie Murdaugh’s Facebook page.
— At the Beaufort Water Festival, Paul is seen shot-gunning a beer in front of his parents and brother.
— On a Murdaugh family trip to Guatemala in 2018, Alex and Maggie bought alcohol for Paul and Doughty.
— In 2018, Paul purchased alcohol and Alex and Maggie helped load the alcohol and other items onto the same boat that crashed in 2019. On the boat were a number of minors drinking.
— On New Year’s Eve 2018, just a few months before the boat crash, Alex provided alcohol to Paul and Paul became grossly intoxicated. The video shows Paul unable to speak or stand on his own and in his “Timmy” mode — a nickname friends gave him because his hands would appear to develop a type of palsy when he drank to a certain point. Shortly after the video, he drove Alex’s truck “with Alex’s knowledge” and wrecked into one of Paul’s friends’ BMWs. “Alex paid cash to fix the car after the collision.”
— In 2017, Paul became extremely intoxicated from alcohol given to him by Alex. Alex and Maggie also gave Doughty a “sleeve of Fireball mini-bottles.”
— In December 2017, Paul became drunk at Moselle from alcohol he bought using Buster’s ID and with his parents’ knowledge. “Paul’s mother picked us up that night because Paul was so drunk and acting crazy.”
— On a 2017 trip to Arizona, Buster and Cory Fleming — Alex Murdaugh’s best friend and alleged co-conspirator (as well as Buster’s godfather) — are seen arm-wrestling. Paul was “extremely intoxicated” from alcohol provided to him by Alex, Maggie and Fleming, according to the affidavit.
— In August 2018, Paul got into an argument on a boat and was trying to fight someone. “He was grossly intoxicated from alcohol he purchased from Parker’s with his mother’s knowledge.”
— On their senior trip to the Bahamas, Paul was legally able to buy alcohol and became so drunk that he vomited in a gift shop and “caused a scene.” He was escorted back to their cruise ship by police. Alex and Maggie were aware.
— In 2017, Paul is playing beer pong at a party using alcohol provided by Alex and Maggie, who witnessed him drinking it.
— In July 2017, Alex and Maggie were at the family’s river house and witnessed Paul return home on their boat very drunk.
— In July 2018, Paul is taking a shot at Luther’s in Beaufort, where he used his brother’s ID to buy alcohol. Luther’s is also the spot where Paul and one of the boat passengers stopped the night of the boat crash.
— At a party for Buster held at Moselle, Alex purchased a keg of beer for a number of minors. Paul drank to the point of being grossly intoxicated with his parents’ and Buster’s knowledge.
— While fishing with his uncle John Marvin Murdaugh, Paul became grossly intoxicated with Alex and Maggie’s knowledge. Doughty had to drive him home and call the Murdaughs to let them know he was home safe.
— At the Skull Creek Boathouse on Hilton Head Island, Paul uses Buster’s license to buy alcohol and Buster used his passport. “Paul’s parents were present and knew and paid the bill for the alcohol.”
— At a Christmas party in 2018, Paul is depicted drunk in front of his parents.
— At a wedding in 2018, Paul became intoxicated in front of his parents. “Alex and Maggie argued on the way home that night because Alex also took a pain killer and became aggressive. We dropped Alex off at his parents’ house on the way home because of his aggressive behavior.”
Have a look for yourself:Morgan-Affidavit-5-May-2022
The John Marvin Murdaugh Affidavit
Alex’s younger brother, John Marvin Murdaugh, became the personal representative of Maggie Murdaugh’s estate in December on the same day it appears Maggie’s sister learned that Maggie’s will had designated her as the PR.
Marian Proctor‘s name was scratched off and replaced by the handwritten name of Alex’s father, Randolph Murdaugh III.
According to an affidavit signed by John Marvin in December but filed with Hampton County Courthouse on Tuesday, he sold almost $725,000 of Alex’s assets to family members, friends and other associates.
He submitted this information to the court, the affidavit states, in support of the motion to reconsider the receivership.
In an interview with The Island Packet at the end of March, John Marvin provided a similar document to the paper and said, “It shows everything that was sold, where it was sold, who it was sold to, when and where the money went. And the receivers didn’t have to go out and find this. I presented it to them in the very early stages.”
According to the affidavit, the money raised from those sales went to pay for health insurance premiums and the costs incurred by Alex “for treatment of an opioid addiction.”
It also says the money was “applied to bank loans.”
The Packet reported that $406,792.02 of the money raised by John Marvin went to Palmetto State Bank and appeared to be applied to a $617,246.51 creditor’s claim against the estate of their father, former solicitor Randolph Murdaugh III, who died days after Paul and Maggie.
“The claim, one of two filed against the estate, is for an unsecured commercial line of credit that Murdaugh III took out with Alex Murdaugh in 2017.”
In other words, John Marvin Murdaugh took a bow — in the newspaper, with the co-receivers and the court — for being “transparent” about the assets he sold on Alex’s behalf and, according to the affidavit, wants his good-citizen credit applied toward a favorable consideration in Alex’s hearing.
A closer — and more critical look — is warranted though because here’s what actually happened:
John Marvin quickly sold his jailed brother’s assets to people close to them at a time when it was very clear that Alex was going to owe a lot of money to a lot of people.
He then took most of that money and applied it to a loan at a bank that is under investigation for its roles in multiple alleged financial schemes with Alex.
The loan itself is potentially dodgy because some say Randolph Murdaugh III’s signature on the promissory note does not appear to be in his handwriting.
And John Marvin wants us to believe that this was altruistic, an above-board favor he was doing for his brother and nephew to get money and pay their bills.
But guess who inherits Randolph Murdaugh’s estate.
The Murdaughs do.
So, in summary, John Marvin helped himself and his family.
But here is what he told the Packet:
“I thought (the receivers) should have announced and made it abundantly clear to the court and to anybody else involved that, ‘Hey, we’ve talked to these guys, they’re very open, they’re transparent, they’re cooperative. They’re doing exactly what they should be doing, not just to help us, but they’re doing what they should be doing. They’re doing the right thing.'”
One man’s transparency is another man’s financial recycling.
The boat crash lawsuit has served as a bellwether in the Murdaugh case — a case that has led to a historic loss of faith in the state’s justice system, which appears to protect a select few to the detriment of everyone else.
The Beach family and their attorney, Mark Tinsley, have fought to make sure that those who bear responsibility in Mallory’s death are held accountable for it.
In the interim they, along with boat passengers Morgan Doughty, Miley Altman, Connor Cook and Anthony Cook, through their perseverance and bravery — in the face of much criticism and unwarranted judgment from lazy onlookers — have helped keep relentless sunlight on the underbelly of a very broken system that appears to have been specifically corrupted for the benefit of the Murdaughs and their associates.
Without the receivership to look through Alex Murdaugh’s assets, there will be no change.
Those who seek to cover up the facts for their own financial gain and legal protection will never give up. They will fight until they can return to the same smooth path they were on before the world was watching.
Back in the day, their absolution was a given. They could rearrange reality just by speaking it into existence.
But that was before video.
And it was before a certain teenage girl would find out just how powerful of a woman she was to become.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Liz Farrell is the new executive editor at FITSNews. She was named 2018’s top columnist in the state by South Carolina Press Association and is back after taking a nearly two-year break from corporate journalism to reclaim her soul. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet her @ElizFarrell.
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