The Supreme Court of South Carolina issued an order Thursday afternoon outlining its decision to disbar Alex Murdaugh pending a hearing Wednesday.
This outcome might not register as a surprise to those who have been following the Murdaugh Crime and Corruption Saga, due to its seeming inevitability.
But the Supreme Court’s decision sent shockwaves through the legal community Thursday.
The Supreme Court did this on its own — without a recommendation from its Office of Disciplinary Counsel.
This is unprecedented.
The court decided to forgo the investigation phase of Murdaugh’s case because they didn’t see a need to wait.
“There is no factual dispute about whether Respondent engaged in dishonest conduct,” Supreme Court Justice Donald W. Beatty wrote.
Murdaugh “has admitted to conduct that amounts to clear and convincing evidence of dishonesty in violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct.”
In September, Murdaugh was suspended from practicing law. Since then, he has been indicted multiple times and now faces 83 charges, most of them related to the theft of more than $8.4 million from former clients. He was arrested in October 2021 and is being held at the Richland County Detention Center in lieu of a $7 million bond.
“In this unique case, Respondent’s admissions in the public record lead to only one conclusion—that Respondent’s egregious ethical misconduct subjects him to the most significant sanction available—disbarment. Accordingly, we find there is no need to expend additional resources to proceed through the normal disciplinary process.”
If Murdaugh wishes to argue the court’s decision, he can do so at 11 a.m. June 22 in the Supreme Court Courtroom, according to the order.
Until September 2021, Murdaugh was a partner at Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick — which was started by his great-grandfather over 100 years ago. He also worked as a “volunteer solicitor” for 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone, who was the successor to the Murdaugh Throne. Murdaugh’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather served as solicitor of the 14th Circuit for 86 years.
About a month after Murdaugh’s law license was suspended, his best friend Cory Fleming, who practiced law at Moss, Kuhn and Fleming in Beaufort, also had his license suspended in South Carolina. Fleming stands accused of conspiring with Murdaugh to steal from clients and has been indicted on 23 charges. His license to practice law in Georgia has also been suspended.
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 [email protected] or tweet her @ElizFarrell.
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