South Carolina senator Dick Harpootlian has filed a motion to compel the state of South Carolina to fulfill its obligation to produce evidence in the high-profile double homicide investigation of 54-year-old Alex Murdaugh.
Harpootlian is the lead attorney defending Murdaugh on charges that he brutally murdered his wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, and younger son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh, at the family’s Colleton County hunting property last June.
Murdaugh has pleaded not guilty to those charges.
Last time I checked, the state was in the process of turning over this evidence … but according to the veteran defense attorney, it has “refused to comply with this requirement” and engaged in “impudent stall tactics meant to hinder Murdaugh’s ability to prepare for trial by January 2023.”
The debate over production of evidence isn’t what this motion (.pdf) is really about, though …
Harpootlian is adroitly using the latest court filing to preview one aspect of his upcoming defense of his client – namely that investigators with the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and prosecutors in the office of S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson rushed to judgment in the murder case.
“The state immediately decided Alex was the prime suspect, before anyone collected, investigated or reviewed any evidence,” Harpootlian wrote.
I exclusively reported on Murdaugh status as a “person of interest” in connection with this investigation on June 9, 2021 – less than forty-eight hours after the murders. He was not criminally charged, however, until July 14, 2022.
As this news outlet has previously reported, sources familiar with this case have told us there is a “mountain of evidence” against Murdaugh, a disbarred attorney who is staring down multiple criminal investigations.
Back in April, FITSNews reported exclusively on high-velocity impact spatter that was reportedly found on Murdaugh’s clothes – which would have placed him at the scene of the murders when at least one of the victims in this case was killed. In early June, we reported on audio and video evidence obtained by investigators which called into question statements provided by Murdaugh to investigators.
Last month, we reported on cellular location data and geofencing data which may have assisted investigators in tracking Murdaugh’s movements before, during and after the time of the murders – helping them create a timeline for what may have happened on that fateful spring evening.
“The evidence in this case is substantial,” prosecutor Creighton Waters said during a July 2022 bond hearing for Murdaugh. “It all comes back to Alex Murdaugh.”
In addition to previewing his “rush to judgment” defense, Harpootlian took shots at Wilson for allegedly misusing the South Carolina statewide grand jury to investigate the murders.
“For over a year, the attorney general has used a state grand jury investigation of alleged white-collar crimes involving Murdaugh as a device to find evidence justifying the state’s blind guess that Alex murdered his wife and son,” Harpootlian wrote.
Really? That grand jury has charged Murdaugh with 79 criminal counts alleging he defrauded multiple victims out of nearly $8.5 million. It has also indicted multiple co-conspirators for alleged white-collar crimes.
Murdaugh is the focus of no fewer that six separate state criminal inquiries – including the double homicide inquiry, a financial crimes investigation (which has already netted dozens of charges), a drug trafficking inquiry, an obstruction of justice probe and the investigation of a bizarre roadside shooting that took place last Labor Day.
Two additional homicide investigations allegedly have ties to the Murdaugh family – and there is a sprawling public corruption probe linked to the saga as well.
This web of alleged criminality is what my news outlet has referred to collectively as the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga.
Harpootlian also slammed Wilson for allegedly leaking confidential grand jury information to the press.
“The attorney general leaked news of the indictments to national news media two days before the grand jury even voted,” Harpootlian wrote.
That is apparently a reference to my exclusive report on July 12, 2022 that murder charges were coming against Alex Murdaugh – a report which cited multiple sources familiar with the status of the investigation.
FITSNews does not discuss its sources – and on a personal level, my commitment to source protection is widely known in the Palmetto State.
Harpootlian added that he and fellow attorney Jim Griffin were “concerned the attorney general will continue his campaign by using court filings as a device to selectively release prejudicial material to the public in advance of jury selection.”
Harpootlian is scheduled to discuss the incendiary allegations contained in his motion at a press conference outside of his Columbia, S.C. law office. Readers will recall he and Griffin do not have the best track record when it comes to shooting straight with members of the media covering the case.
In the aftermath of the roadside shooting incident, for example, the duo repeatedly advanced demonstrably (deliberately?) false narratives in an attempt to frame the incident as a random attack when it was, in fact, allegedly staged by Murdaugh and a co-conspirator.
Anyway, FITSNews director of special projects Dylan Nolan will be attending this event – which will be live-streamed on our website.
THE MOTION …
(Via: S.C. Court System)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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