Alex Murdaugh has officially been disbarred.
In an order issued Tuesday afternoon, South Carolina’s Supreme Court formally took away Murdaugh’s license to practice law in the state.
Though the court again cited Murdaugh’s admission to stealing more than $4.3 million from the family of his housekeeper as a core reason for his disbarment, the justices made sure to point out that the decision “turns not on Respondent’s concession, but rather derives from our constitutional authority and duty to protect the public from attorneys who are not fit to practice law.”
The Supreme Court’s decision to ”protect the public” came nearly one year after evidence of Murdaugh’s alleged thefts started to emerge and hours after FITSNews reported that, in addition to the 85 charges he currently faces, Murdaugh is expected to be charged this week with murdering his wife and son in June 2021.
The state’s judicial system came under fire when it was first revealed last fall that Murdaugh had been allegedly stealing millions from clients for years. Particularly, the state Supreme Court has been criticized for its slow, secretive and highly political process for investigating complaints against attorneys.
The public is almost always left in the dark about the outcomes of — and even the existence of — investigations against the state’s attorneys.
In disbarring Murdaugh, the court decided — in light of Murdaugh’s repeated admissions to stealing from the family of Gloria Satterfield — to forgo its investigation, cutting short what can be a six-year ordeal.
“Indeed, we take this step today based on our ability to conclude from the public record that Respondent’s untruthfulness and misconduct resulted in significant harm to clients and demands his removal from the practice of law.”
However, the court noted, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel is continuing its investigation into the claims against Murdaugh.
This investigation will prove to be critical in setting a new expectation of accountability for those attorneys who might feel politically protected from consequence. Sources have told FITSNews that Murdaugh’s case is a Pandora’s box that includes multiple attorneys and potentially even judges.
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.
WANNA SOUND OFF?
Got something you’d like to say in response to one of our articles? Or an issue you’d like to address proactively? We have an open microphone policy here at FITSNews! Submit your letter to the editor (or guest column) via email HERE. Got a tip for a story? CLICK HERE. Got a technical question or a glitch to report? CLICK HERE.
SIGN UP …