Image default
MurdaughsTrial

LIVE FEED – ‘Murdaugh Murders’ Trial: Day Twelve

News and notes from South Carolina’s ‘Trial of the Century.’

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

It’s day twelve of the double homicide trial of disbarred attorney/ accused killer Alex Murdaugh – the man at the center of the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga.

Murdaugh stands accused of killing his wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, and youngest son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh, on his family’s hunting property in Colleton County, South Carolina on June 7, 2021. He pleaded not guilty to those charges and is currently standing trial in Walterboro, S.C. – part of the five-county Lowcountry region of the Palmetto State which his family once ran like a fiefdom.

Yesterday was a big day for prosecutors as S.C. circuit court judge Clifton Newman ruled they could call witnesses, elicit testimony and introduce evidence related to various financial crimes of which Murdaugh stands accused. Not only will this help the state with its theory of motive, it will allow the jury to hear damning testimony from multiple witnesses who can shed light as to his frame of mind in the days leading up to this crime.

To view yesterday’s live feed, click here …

Support FITSNews … SUBSCRIBE!

***

Murdaugh’s attorneys also scored some points on Monday, raising credible questions about a key piece of forensic evidence – a blue rain jacket which the state appears to be suggesting was used to transfer the murder weapons from the scene of the crime.

This jacket was found wadded up in a closet at Murdaugh’s parents’ home in Almeda, S.C.

First reported by this news outlet back in October, the jacket – alternately identified as a blue tarp – was spotted in Murdaugh’s possession by MuShelle “Shelley” Smith, a caretaker for Murdaugh’s ailing mother, Libby Murdaugh.

Or was it? Prosecutors and defense attorneys sparred over exactly what Smith said she saw as Monday’s proceedings drew to a close … and are expected to continue battling over those potentially pivotal details as Tuesday’s testimony kicks off.

***

THE POLLS …

At the opening gavel of each day of the trial, we will launch two new polls asking readers to weigh in on 1) whether they think Alex Murdaugh is guilty or not guilty of murdering his late wife, Maggie Murdaugh and, 2) whether they think he is guilty or not guilty of murdering his late son, Paul Murdaugh.

The goal of our daily polls is to track how perception of Murdaugh’s guilt or innocence related to the murders of his two alleged victims changes over the course of the trial.

As of yesterday, 89 percent of respondents believe Murdaugh is guilty of killing is wife compared to 88 percent who believe he is guilty of killing his son.

Here are today’s polls …

***

QUESTION ONE …

Loading

Based on the information you have now, is Alex Murdaugh is guilty or not guilty of the murder of Maggie Murdaugh?

Thank you for voting
You have already voted on this poll!
Please select an option!

    ***

    QUESTION TWO …

    Loading

    Based on the information you have now, is Alex Murdaugh is guilty or not guilty of the murder of Paul Murdaugh?

    Thank you for voting
    You have already voted on this poll!
    Please select an option!

      ***

      THE FEED …

      5:40 p.m. EST – Court has ended for the day and will resume tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. EST.

      Prosecutor John Meadors shows a blue jacket to his witness Megan Fletcher, SLED forensic scientist in the double murder trial of Alex Murdaugh at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro. Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post and Courier/Pool

      5:30 p.m. EST – Fletcher tells the jury that amount of gunshot residue primer is consistent with someone wearing the coat inside out. In order for it to be considered a transfer, an object with a higher amount of residue would have to be in it.

      5:27 p.m. EST – Fletcher testifies that they do not usually test the inside of clothing unless instructed to do so. She states particles consistent with gunshot primer residue were found. She confirmed 38 particles were lifted and describes that as a “significant” amount.

      5:25 p.m. EST – Particle lifts collected on the outside of the jacket were a total of 13. Fletcher states that tells her it was in the vicinity of the discharge of a firearm.

      5:15 p.m. EST – Fletcher confirms examining a blue poncho-type rain jacket on October 5, 2021. Griffin renews his earlier objection to this evidence. Judge Newman states submitted.

      5:08 p.m. EST – Fletcher states that abnormal items that are examined are brought to her as the director of the lab. The seatbelt examined on June 21, 2021 was brought to her as it is considered an abnormal item. There was GSR on the seatbelt that she says is most likely caused by a transfer.

      5:03 p.m. EST – Fletcher confirms she had an opportunity to review the lifts taken by Agent Varnadoe from Murdaugh’s hands. She confirms that the lifts were taken within the 4-6 hour time period required for GSR collection. She states her examination concluded 1 particle was collected from each of his hands. Murdaugh’s defense team will likely point out the small amounts collected are more consistent with him lifting a firearm as opposed to discharging one. No GSR was found found on Murdaugh’s shoes.

      4:58 p.m. EST – Fletcher states the particle lifts from Murdaugh’s shorts indicated 2 particles on the right side of his shorts in the groin area and 1 particle lift from the left side of his shorts in the groin area. Her opinion is the shorts were either in the vicinity of the discharge of a firearm or came into contact with something that had gunshot primer residue on it.

      4:55 p.m. EST – Fletcher testifies that they collected 2 particle lifts from the right sleeve of Murdaugh’s shirt and 1 particle lift from the left sleeve. Her opinion is that the t-shirt was either in the vicinity of the discharge of a firearm or came into contact with something that had gunshot primer residue on it.

      4:50 p.m. EST – Fletcher states that GSR can only place a person into the vicinity of a firearm. Fletcher confirms they wear gloves and clothing while processing clothing to prevent transfer onto the evidence.

      4:45 p.m. EST – GSR can be washed off hands. On inanimate objects, GSR can stay indefinitely.

      4:40 p.m. EST – Fletcher tells Meadors that the amount of GSR cannot determine the vicinity of a person to the weapon. She differentiates discharge, vicinity and transfer.

      4:36 p.m. EST -The State calls Megan Fletcher to the stand. Fletcher is an Ohio native who relocated to South Carolina to work at her dream job analyzing trace evidence for SLED. She describes gunshot residue (GSR) as any discharge from a weapon. She is qualified as an expert by Judge Newman.

      4:22 p.m. EST – Crosby confirms texts he received from Murdaugh confirming that Murdaugh was spending a lot of time with Maggie’s parents in Summerville, South Carolina. Over the fourth of July, Crosby invited Murdaugh over. Buster and Alex came by boat from Edisto and Crosby says Murdaugh was carrying a gun in a cloth shopping bag.

      4:18 p.m. EST – In the immediate aftermath, Crosby states that Murdaugh’s presence at the office was sporadic, but he knew that he was having a lot of issues sleeping. He states that after Maggie and Paul’s death followed by his father’s death, he wasn’t surprised. Crosby testifies Murdaugh was losing weight and not eating well.

      4:12 p.m. EST – Crosby recalls that law enforcement officers came in and collected Murdaugh’s clothes. They observed him changing his clothes and when Murdaugh handed his clothing over, the agent held the bag open and Murdaugh had his clothes in his fingers and dropped them in the bag.

      4:08 p.m. EST – Griffin asks Crosby if it appeared the crime scene had been well-preserved on the night of June 7, 2021. Crosby states that Griffin is asking his opinion and he cannot as all he saw was crime scene personnel working. He states when the investigators started photographing the scene, they asked them all to go to the house. He recalls himself, Mark Ball, Austin Crosby, Danny Henderson, Randy Murdaugh, John Marvin Murdaugh, and Alex Murdaugh went to the main house. He states perhaps Chris Wilson was there but can’t recall. When asked if it appeared as if law enforcement had searched the residence before they went in. Crosby says he does not know if it had been searched, but it was his perception was that it had not.

      4:05 p.m. EST – Griffin testifies that when he was at Moselle on June 8, 2021 there was still biological matter and blood on the scene. He also states that there was still bird shot or buck shot not collected by SLED. He testifies that he did not gather those up. He says, “Mr. Griffin – Jim – that area in that room while we could see them it was so bad we thought we were going to at some point clean it up, but it overwhelmed both my partner Mark and I. We could see that. We could see everything. The aftermath. We just couldn’t be there, it was bad. No we did not collect evidence.”

      4:00 p.m. EST – Jim Griffin has begun cross examination of Ronnie Crosby for the defense. Crosby tells Griffin that the Friday before the murders, Paul had taken his white F-150 was put in the shop at Jimmy Butler’s auto dealership. Crosby states he went to the shop to see if Paul had left his guns in the truck. Crosby states he learned that C.B. Rowe had taken Paul to the shop to drop the truck off. He requested the security footage to see if Paul got his guns out. He states he did not see any guns in Paul’s truck. He also stated that it was not evident on the video that Paul got any guns out of the truck and he could see Paul get from one vehicle to the other.

      3:55 p.m. EST – Crosby tells Waters the outcome of any situation like this would have been the partner would have been asked to resign or fired and the individual would be turned into law enforcement.

      3:50 p.m. EST – The firm completed a financial investigation and forensic audit. They turned all the evidence over to SLED investigators. He confirms the accuracy of the documents submitted by the State.

      3:45 p.m. EST – During August 2021, he was working on a case in Dorchester and working on pre-trial motions. When he got out of court, he realized he had missed communications from Mark Ball who said, “We have a problem. You have to come now.” Ball asked Crosby to meet him at Danny Henderson’s house. He was given a folder that had paperwork in them with copies of the front and backs of checks. He reviewed it on his way home and said, “This is bad.” He stated the way Seckinger laid it out, it was clear that Murdaugh had stolen. He did not attend a meeting of the partners as he had already decided where this was going. His understanding of the meeting outcome was that Murdaugh admitted he had stolen the funds.

      3:40 p.m. EST – Paul’s favorite gun was a 12 gauge Benelli but he hog hunted with the .300 Blackout. He stated at the murder scene he saw the casings and thought they were 223’s. After having a conversation with a Colleton County officer he found out they were .300 Blackout casings and asked Murdaugh about those guns and where they were located. He asked Murdaugh about them. Murdaugh told him one of them was in the room but didn’t know where the other one was located. Murdaugh told him one of them had gotten stolen or misplaced which didn’t surprise him because Paul lost guns all the time and that he had bought a replacement. He didn’t tell him what had happened to the replacement but that there were a total of three .300 Blackouts.

      3:35 p.m. EST – Crosby states that Murdaugh told him the Farris fees were in trust and he had no reason to question him. In some point in July of 2021, an email was reported to him that Chris Wilson’s firm was questioning the fees in the Farris case. He states he saw that as further clarification there wasn’t an issue because they worked many cases with Wilson’s firm.

      3:30 p.m. EST – Crosby testifies that the partners at the firm took a lot of security precautions following the murders due to the uncertainty of what happened. He states that the firm rallied behind Murdaugh.

      3:35 p.m. EST – Waters asks whether or not Murdaugh had said he had gone down to the kennels before he went to Almeda to visit his mother. Crosby states Murdaugh specifically said he did not. He then plays the snapchat video for Crosby. Crosby identifies the three voices on the video as Paul, Maggie and Alex Murdaugh with 100% certainty.

      3:31 p.m. EST – Crosby states he stayed at Moselle until about 3:30 a.m. He recommended that everyone go get sleep to deal with the next day. He was the first to leave. He returned to Moselle the next day and spoke to Murdaugh. Waters asks Crosby what Murdaugh told him about June 7, 2021. Murdaugh told him – and multiple people who were present – that he had worked and left work around 5:30 – 6:00 p.m. He says Murdaugh told him that he rode around the property with Paul Murdaugh and they had dinner with Maggie. He told Crosby that Maggie and Paul went out to the dog kennels and that he fell asleep on the couch around 8:30 p.m. awaking at around 9:00 a.m. before leaving to go to his mother’s house in Almeda. Murdaugh told Crosby that he rode back to Moselle and when Paul and Maggie weren’t at the house, he drove down to the kennels and found their bodies.

      3:30 p.m. EST – Waters asks Crosby about June 7, 2021. Crosby states that he doesn’t recall seeing Murdaugh in the office that morning in the office. He states they had invited Paul to go fishing the next day but Paul was working and couldn’t go. Crosby’s wife got a call from Randy Murdaugh’s wife asking for the phone number of Mark Ball’s wife as she was a nurse. He called Randy back and Randy told him that Paul and Maggie had been shot. He states he immediately got in his vehicle and headed to Moselle arriving around 11:00 p.m. When he arrived, he saw the lights at the kennel and went straight there. When he arrived, he is confident Murdaugh and Mark Ball were there.

      3:28 p.m. EST – Crosby chokes up when talking about Paul Murdaugh recalling that he knew him from birth. He says Buster and Paul often hunted on his property in Colleton. Crosby says Paul was really good with kids and had a great personality. He appears to be very fond of Paul and struggles with this part of his testimony.

      3:25 p.m. EST – Crosby assumed Seckinger would just take care of it and get the money. He knew the funds ultimately would have to be accounted for in accounting practices so was not worried.

      3:20 p.m. EST – Crosby testifies that he was aware of the Farris case and believed the fees owed to the firm were $792,000. In May 2021, Crosby walked in to Lee Cope’s office and Cope and Jeanne Seckinger were having a conversation about that issue and her efforts to get all the paperwork regarding these Farris matter. Seckinger was frustrated because she thought she was getting the run around from both Chris Wilson and Murdaugh. She mentioned that Murdaugh suggested he was trying to hide fees from the boating case. Crosby says he responded, “Oh f*** we are not.” He tells Waters that that would be illegal and unethical and subjected the firm to liability.

      3:15 p.m. EST – Waters asks Crosby if he knew of a person named Gloria Satterfield. Crosby responds that he did know her for a number of years and that Gloria was employed by Murdaugh. His understanding of her death was that she tripped on the Murdaugh’s dogs and died 3-4 weeks later as a result of the accident. He was aware of the lawsuit and Crosby understood the lawsuit would be a “friendly insurance claim.”

      3:10 p.m. EST – Crosby states he was aware of the boat crash case and the subsequent legal matters. He states he did have a conversation with Murdaugh about structuring his fees in spring of 2021. Crosby says Murdaugh asked him about the general process and the benefits of it, but advised him it may not make sense due to the low interest rates.

      3:07 p.m. EST – Waters asks Crosby about conversations he had with Murdaugh about his finances. He discusses a property deal made with Barrett Boulware and other partners that went underwater during the recession in 2008-2009. He states that he believed Murdaugh had settled a number of large cases that rectified his finances including the Hannah Plyer, Hakeem Pinckney, Natarsha Thomas, and Arthur Badger cases.

      3:05 p.m. EST – Crosby states Murdaugh used his cell phone quite a bit. Regarding Murdaugh’s legal skills, Crosby says he was a very good lawyer, good at reading people, and strategizing against insurance companies. Crosby says Murdaugh never really developed a specialized expertise and Crosby describes him as more of a general practitioner.

      3:00 p.m. EST – Crosby tells Creighton Waters that all fees received by lawyers during the year belong to the firm until it is distributed at the end of the year. Crosby states Murdaugh’s practice was relatively consistent, but that like all attorneys, Murdaugh had up and down years. Waters asks Crosby if it is common in plaintiff cases for lawyers to share cases. Crosby replies that it is and explains if there is a recovery up front, there is an agreement about how the fees are split by the law firm. He tells Waters that it happens often that the other firm receives a disbursement check and that firm would disburse the fees. If the attorney had the fees disbursed directly to themselves, he states this would be stealing.

      2:57 p.m. EST – Crosby states he has known Alex Murdaugh around the late-1990’s. He says he met him around the time Randolph Murdaugh Jr. died.

      2:55 p.m. EST – The State has called Ronnie Crosby to the stand. Crosby is a former law partner of Alex Murdaugh and currently employed at the Parker Law Group – the law firm formerly known as PMPED.

      Ronnie Crosby, Hampton attorney, gives his testimony in the double murder trial of Alex Murdaugh at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post and Courier/Pool

      2:52 p.m. EST – Court has resumed after a lunch recess. The jury is being brought in. I’m back from my hair appointment and resuming my live feed duties. – Jenn Wood

      1:23 p.m. EST – Seckinger’s testimony has concluded …. court is in recess until 2:40 p.m.

      1:20 p.m. EST Jeanne Seckinger, the former financial officer at Alex Murdaugh’s law firm, discusses pausing the investigation of the firm’s internal investigation of Murdaugh.

      “We wanted to make sure he was emotionally okay before we pressured him about any of these things …”

      1:17 p.m. EST – Griffin’s cross-examination of Seckinger has concluded … lead prosecutor Creighton Waters is now asking her questions on re-direct.

      1:12 p.m. EST – Murdaugh’s attorney Jim Griffin is working hard pushing back at the prosecution’s narrative that his client cracked due to being in a “pressure cooker,” asking Seckinger whether anyone outside the firm – or others inside the firm – had any idea of the alleged theft from clients. “There was no pressure cooker,” Griffin said.

      “I know I was putting pressure on him to get answers on the Faris fees …”

      1:11 p.m. EST – Seckinger on why Murdaugh’s financial fraud was not initially detected.

      “We never had a reason to look,” she said.

      1:08 p.m. EST – Griffin really leading the defense effort of late. We have seen precious little this week from Murdaugh’s lead attorney, Dick Harpootlian.

      1:06 p.m. EST – Griffin is now driving home how now neither Maggie nor Paul Murdaugh had any knowledge, as far as Seckinger was concerned, of Alex Murdaugh’s alleged theft at the law firm.

      1:05 p.m. EST – Griffin now getting into the meat of Seckinger confronting Murdaugh – trying to show how the killings did not stop the firm’s investigation into his finances. According to Seckinger it only delayed the inquiry by “a couple of weeks … maybe a month.”

      “The death of his wife and son got him a 30-day reprieve on your investigation of him,” Griffin said.

      12:59 p.m. EST – Griffin is walking Seckinger through each of the various alleged schemes, documenting how she uncovered each of them.

      12:47 p.m. EST – Murdaugh’s attorney Jim Griffin has begun his cross-examination of Seckinger …

      Jeanne Seckinger speaks about Alex Murdaugh’s alleged financial crimes during his trial for murder at the Colleton County Courthouse on Tuesday, February 7, 2023. Joshua Boucher/The State/Pool

      12:45 p.m. EST – Lead prosecutor Creighton Waters has concluded his direct examination of Jeanne Seckinger in dramatic fashion, asking her “did you ever really know Alex Murdaugh?”

      Her response: “I don’t think anyone knows him.”

      12:43 p.m. EST – Waters really driving home the fact that Murdaugh stole millions of dollars on top of receiving millions of dollars in fees in these cases.

      12:37 p.m. EST – It seems clear at this point the state is going to rely on the testimony of Jeanne Seckinger, the chief financial officer at Alex Murdaugh’s law firm, to lay the groundwork for all of the financial crimes allegedly committed by Murdaugh … and then use other witnesses to fill in any holes. Either that or this jury is in for a LONG week.

      12:35 p.m. EST – Good point regarding S.C. circuit court judge Clifton Newman‘s big ruling yesterday regarding the admissibility of all this evidence of alleged financial crimes …

      12:25 p.m. EST – Waters is now detailing alleged misappropriation involving a civil settlement tied to the death of Donna Badger, an Allendale County woman who was killed in a 2011 car crash and whose husband, Arthur Badger, was represented by Alex Murdaugh. Regular readers of this news outlet know Murdaugh is already facing state charges tied to the Badger case – specifically the alleged theft of more than $1.3 million from Arthur Badger between February 2013 and June 2014.

      As noted below, Laffitte has been convicted federally for his role in the Badger settlement scam. He is also facing state charges.

      12:20 p.m. EST – Lead prosecutor Creighton Waters is now questioning Jeanne Seckinger about yet another one of Alex Murdaugh‘s alleged schemes – stealing money from clients via his relationship with “conservator” Russell Laffitte, the former president of Palmetto State Bank (PSB).

      Laffitte, readers will recall, was convicted in November 2022 on six counts of federal fraud charges. Here is the latest on that case …

      12:14 p.m. EST – Yes, I do think Dick Harpootlian‘s opening line of his opening statement could come back to haunt him …

      12:11 p.m. EST – Lead prosecutor Creighton Waters just asked Jeanne Seckinger about a “fake Forge” disbursement related to the case of a Mexican national named Manuel Santiz-Cristiani. In case you needed to dive down another Murdaugh-related rabbit hole, here is a story we posted on his case …

      12:04 p.m. EST – Waters and Seckinger walking through the disbursements one-by-one. A familiar litany is developing …

      WATERS: “You recognize that signature?”

      SECKINGER: “Alex Murdaugh.”

      WATERS: “That money go to the real Forge or the fake Forge?”

      SECKINGER: “Fake Forge.”

      11:57 a.m. EST – Waters and Seckinger now discussing Murdaugh creating “phantom money” in connection with disbursements to the “fake Forge” account …

      11:42 a.m. EST – Lead prosecutor Creighton Waters and Jeanne Seckinger, the chief financial officer at Alex Murdaugh’s law firm, are now going through the various “fake Forge” fleecings …

      11:40 a.m. EST – Court is back in session after a brief recess …

      11:38 a.m. EST

      11: 14 a.m. EST – Court is in recess for a brief late morning break …

      11:10 a.m. EST – According to Seckinger, Murdaugh stole more than $2.8 million from clients via his “fake Forge” scheme. After this scheme was uncovered, an emergency meeting of the firm was called on the morning of September 3, 2021 at the home of Lee Cope, a PMPED partner. A decision was made at that time to share the information with Alex Murdaugh’s brother, Randy Murdaugh. Randy Murdaugh agreed Alex had stolen the funds and that he needed to be terminated.

      11:08 a.m. EST – A preview of coming attractions?

      11:05 a.m. EST – Some well-deserved praise for lead prosecutor Creighton Waters. He did a great job questioning Seckinger when the jury was out of the room, he is doing an equally great job questioning her in front of the jury …

      11:01 a.m. ESTJeanne Seckinger, the chief financial officer at Alex Murdaugh’s law firm, is now describing how she uncovered his “stolen fees” scam involving the “fake” Forge Consulting. This is the “fake Forge” account Murdaugh is accused of creating in an effort to not only to steal fees connected to his cases, but the proceeds of settlements from those cases as well …

      10:58 a.m. EST – Three months after the murders, Murdaugh’s paralegal discovered a March 2021 check for $225,000 (made out to Alex Murdaugh) from the office of attorney Chris Wilson‘s office marked “Faris fees.”

      Waters asked Seckinger what this led her to believe …

      “That he stole the money – that he’d been lying,” she testified.

      10:55 a.m. EST

      10:51 a.m. EST – According to Seckinger, Murdaugh called her at around 4:00 p.m. EDT – less than five hours before the murders – to ask about his 401(k) assets in connection with financial disclosures that would be required of him in connection with a civil lawsuit tied to the boat crash case. The date of that hearing? June 10, 2021.

      Murdaugh, incidentally, cashed out his 401(k) to pay his attorneys (and defense experts) in this case …

      10:50 a.m. EST – Seckinger recalls the moment she confronted Murdaugh on the fees from the Faris case – which totaled $792,000. “He looked at me with a pretty dirty look – one I had not seen before.”

      “What do you need now?” Murdaugh told Seckinger.

      Seckinger then confronted Murdaugh with the allegation that he had stolen the fees.

      This conversation was not continued, however, because Murdaugh received a call that his father was in the hospital and that his condition was terminal. That stopped Seckinger’s inquiries.

      10:46 a.m. ESTJeanne Seckinger, the chief financial officer at Alex Murdaugh‘s law firm, is now discussing her conversations with attorneys at PMPED about how to handle their suspicion that Murdaugh was stealing money.

      10:39 a.m. EST – Waters and Seckinger are now walking jurors through the case of Andral Faris, who won a $5.5 million judgment after being represented by Murdaugh and his best friend and fellow lawyer, Chris Wilson, in a personal injury case. According to Seckinger, Murdaugh’s paralegal Annette Griswold called her after she received a check from Wilson’s firm for the expenses associated with this case – but not the fees. This is a critical case because it is the one raised by Seckinger with Murdaugh on the day of the murders.

      “My concern is he had stolen the fees and they were paid to him personally,” Seckinger testified.

      10:29 a.m. EST – Waters is now walking Seckinger through financial records tied to the case of Jacob Hershberger, a Charleston physical therapist who was killed in a head-on crash outside Walterboro, S.C. in March 2018. Murdaugh attempted to route $83,333 from a $250,000 settlement in the Hershberger case to his wife, Maggie Murdaugh. Seckinger said this concerned her because it meant Murdaugh “was hiding assets” in an effort to avoid liability related to the 2019 boat crash.

      “We didn’t want any part of that,” she said.

      10:25 a.m. EST – Waters and Seckinger are now introducing Forge Consulting into the narrative for the jury. Forge is the company Alex Murdaugh allegedly “mimicked” as part of an effort to steal money from clients. Forge doled out structured settlements for law firm clients who won settlements to help them alleviate their tax burden.

      10:18 a.m. EST – Lead prosecutor Creighton Waters now asking chief law firm financial officer Jeanne Seckinger about the 2019 boat crash that propelled the Murdaugh family onto the statewide stage. According to Seckinger, Murdaugh began making questionable financial moves following the boat crash in an attempt to hide assets.

      (Click to View)

      Creighton Waters in court on February 6, 2023 (Jeff Blake/ Pool)

      10:16 a.m. EST – Seckinger testifying to a 2017 incident in which Alex Murdaugh allegedly cashed a $121,000 check twice that had been incorrectly made out to him (but meant for his brother, Randy Murdaugh). Not only did he cash it, he claimed to have lost it and had a second check cut – which he also cashed. Murdaugh later claimed it was a “mistake” and repaid the money.

      10:11 a.m. EST – Seckinger discussing Alex Murdaugh’s success as an attorney: “He did it through the art of bullshit.” Waters responds: “That can be an art.”

      10:08 a.m. EST – Seckinger is now detailing the partners’ agreement Murdaugh signed in which he pledged to run any of the money he made in fees through the law firm. If an attorney failed to abide by that agreement, Seckinger said it would be “stealing.”

      10:02 a.m. EST – Seckinger detailing for Waters how much money Murdaugh made at PMPED, citing years in which he earned “seven figures” as a result of his work for the firm. PMPED basically paid attorneys based on how much business they brought in, known in the business as “eat what you kill.”

      10:00 a.m. EST – Lead prosecutor Creighton Waters is having Seckinger walk the jury through a bit of her personal history, her role at PMPED and how the financials of the firm worked.

      9:56 a.m. EST – Our inimitable research director Jenn Wood is out of pocket for a bit this morning. Y’all are stuck with me … (Will Folks).

      9:55 a.m. EST – The state of South Carolina has called Jeanne Seckinger – the chief financial officer of Murdaugh’s former law firm, Peters Murdaugh Parker Eltzroth and Detrick (PMPED). Seckinger confronted Murdaugh about missing fees from a PMPED account on the day of the murders. She testified in camera previously that Murdaugh shot her a “glare” she had never seen before in more than two decades of working with him. This will be the first time the jury will hear her testimony.

      (Click to View)

      Jeanne Seckinger, former chief financial officer of Peters Murdaugh Parker Eltzroth and Detrick gives her testimony in the double murder trial of Alex Murdaugh at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, Thursday, Feb. 02, 2023. Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post and Courier/Pool

      9:54 a.m. EST – The jury has been brought in … the state is prepared to proceed.

      9:51 a.m. EST – Judge Newman says the conversation with the juror yesterday indicated that the juror would be staying on. Juror number 528 made contact with the court stating that he was in the emergency room and they would need to proceed without him. This will be the first juror that will be excused. The jury is being brought in.

      9:49 a.m. EST – Griffin clarifies the motion was to contest Megan Fletcher’s testimony and they would object again when she takes the stand. Judge Newman states that all evidence adverse to the defendant can be considered to be prejudicial and while he can respect the objection, the testimony taken as a whole shows that Smith identified the item as consistent with what Murdaugh brought into the residence.

      9:43 a.m. EST Creighton Waters tells Judge Newman that the transcript indicates that she positively identified the blue tarp/rain jacket in photos. Judge Newman states the witness stated it was clear Smith could not clearly identify the item as a tarp or rain coat, but that it was consistent in appearance to what Murdaugh brought into the home that night. He says Mr. Griffin did an effective job on cross examination raising credibility of the witness and that is the job of the jury to determine the credibility of the witness. He finds the evidence is relevant and denies the motion to strike the testimony of Shelly Smith.

      9:40 a.m. EST Judge Newman has taken his seat. Jim Griffin states the defense did get an overnight transcript of Shelly Smith’s interview. He is reading the transcript to Judge Newman after stating it was “rough”.

      Mushelle “Shelly” Smith, caregiver for Libby Murdaugh in June of 2021, is questioned by prosecutor John Meadors in the double murder trial of Alex Murdaugh at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post and Courier/Pool

      9:24 a.m. EST – ‘Twas always thus, and always thus will be …

      9:22 a.m. EST – Big decisions for prosecutors in the coming days. Which witnesses do they call? How do they begin weaving Murdaugh’s alleged financial crimes into their narrative of motive? Yesterday the state seemed a bit discombobulated in its approach, potentially confusing jurors. How will they begin distilling and packaging their narratives in a more organized and understandable way?

      Alex Murdaugh is brought into the courtroom in the double murder trial of Alex Murdaugh at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post and Courier/Pool

      8:12 a.m. EST – In case you missed it, here is our story on the local Walterboro, S.C. artist who is chronicling the ‘Trial of the Century’ on her sketchpad …

      5:48 a.m. EST – “His story is so wild, convoluted and deeply Southern that his trial is the courtroom equivalent of Russian nesting dolls – a trial within a trial within a trial.” The amazing Kathleen Parker has weighed in on the Murdaugh madness …

      ***

      WANNA SOUND OFF?

      Got something you’d like to say in response to one of our articles? Or an issue you’d like to proactively address? 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.

      ***

      Get our newsletter by clicking here …

      *****

      Related posts

      Murdaughs

      Becky Hill Case: Ethics Allegations Referred For Criminal Prosecution

      Will Folks
      Murdaughs

      MaryElizabeth Murdaugh Shares Her Story

      Will Folks
      Murdaughs

      Jason Ryan’s ‘Swamp Kings’ Dives Deep Into Murdaugh Dynasty

      Jenn Wood

      3 comments

      Nanker Phelge February 7, 2023 at 1:08 pm

      Harpo should go back to what he does best; harassing 5 Points bars.

      Reply
      Astonished Top fan February 7, 2023 at 3:54 pm

      Glares of pure hatred at times from Alec Murdaugh towards Ronnie Crosby.

      Reply
      Bystander Top fan February 7, 2023 at 6:43 pm

      Really enjoying these recaps. Thank you for providing these! I’m not addressing this to any one writer, but it’s come up in some of the daily blow-by-blow posts like this…It would be helpful if you all could make the antecedents less ambiguous, because it can be hard to follow who said/did what to whom…

      Reply

      Leave a Comment