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MurdaughsTrial

LIVE FEED – ‘Murdaugh Murders’ Trial: Day Fourteen

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

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It’s day fourteen of the double homicide trial of disbarred South Carolina attorney 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, S.C. on June 7, 2021. He pleaded not guilty to those charges and is currently standing trial in Walterboro – a town located in the Lowcountry region of the Palmetto State, which Murdaugh’s family ran like a fiefdom for more than a century.

Yesterday was a chaotic day for these proceedings as the historic Colleton County courthouse had to be evacuated shortly after 12:20 p.m. EST due to a bomb threat .

As this news outlet reported at the time, this threat – which proved to be unfounded – was called in to the main switchboard at the courthouse. The caller reportedly indicated an incendiary device had been placed in the chambers of presiding judge Clifton Newman.

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According to sources familiar with the situation, this threat originated in nearby Ridgeland, S.C. Initial reports point to the call emanating from an incarcerated individual eager to avoid a scheduled court date.

“Nothing to do with the Murdaughs,” one source indicated.

Today’s testimony will begin with Murdaugh’s attorneys cross-examining vehicle data analyst Dwight Falkofske of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Falkofske testified yesterday as to the activity of Alex Murdaugh’s Chevrolet Suburban on the evening of the murders, poking additional holes in the defendant’s narrative from the night of the murders.

At some point today, we expect the state to call Murdaugh’s former best friend and legal colleague Chris Wilson to the stand. Wilson testified last week outside the presence of the jury – emotionally describing how Murdaugh stole nearly $200,000 from him and lied about it.

For yesterday’s live feed, click here …

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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, 90 percent of respondents believe Murdaugh is guilty of killing is wife. Meanwhile, 89 percent believe he is guilty of killing his son.

Here are today’s polls …

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QUESTION ONE …

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

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You have already voted on this poll!
Please select an option!

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    QUESTION TWO …

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    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!

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      THE FEED …

      5:40 p.m. EST – Court has adjourned for the day to resume at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow.

      5:33 p.m. EST – Tinsley testifies that he discovered Paul’s girlfriend, Morgan Doughty, had a ton of videos showing a heavy amount of drinking within the Murdaugh family, including Paul.

      5:25 p.m. EST – Tinsley told Murdaugh’s defense that he would likely have to pay a $10 million settlement. They responded that he might be able to cobble together $1 million. He did not believe that and said that if he was broke, they could work out a payment plan or sell properties. Murdaugh’s defense rejected that idea. Almost immediately after the mediation, Tinsley served a discovery asking for bank accounts and records.

      5:20 p.m. EST – Tinsley tells Waters they utilized a mock jury to see what their chances of recovery were in the boat crash in Beaufort County. He said this was mainly due to questions that arose regarding Paul Murdaugh being the driver by Parker’s Kitchen. He was trying to determine if the evidence he collected enough to get a large recovery against Murdaugh in Beaufort. The mock jury indicated it was and he communicated those results to Murdaugh’s defense team in May of 2020.

      5:16 p.m. EST – Tinsley testifies regarding a mediation that occurred in September of 2020. He states at this point, they were in the process of discovery at this time. They were taking depositions of law enforcement agents and medical personnel at the hospital. Covid slowed the process down, but they continued gathering evidence and documentation. He says he subpoenaed documents from the Department of Defense of witnesses at Parris Island.

      5:12 p.m. EST – In August of 2019, Tinsley attended the South Carolina Trial Lawyers Conference in Hilton Head and testified he saw Alex Murdaugh while there. He states that after dinner he saw Murdaugh at a fundraiser and Murdaugh said, “Hey Bo. What’s this I’ve been hearing about what you’re saying? I thought we were friends.” Tinsley said he told them he replied that if Murdaugh didn’t think he was going to do everything he could to help his clients, he was wrong and he needed to settle the case.

      5:08 p.m. EST – Tinsley explains with wealthy defendants it is not uncommon for them to have to pay some money out of pocket as the result of a lawsuit. He sued the Murdaughs civilly about a month after the accident. He states he communicated very clearly to Murdaugh that he was going to have to pay out of pocket.

      5:05 p.m. EST – Tinsley explains that he believed Murdaugh was actively making a lot of money. His assessment of the insurance coverage was that it was not nearly enough to cover the losses and injuries sustained in the boat crash.

      5:02 p.m. EST – Tinsley is explaining how insurance denied coverage in the boat accident due to exclusions.

      4:57 p.m. EST – Tinsley is testifying about the boat crash that killed Mallory Beach. He states when Renee Beach hired him, she told him that Renee Beach had been prevented from going to the crime scene while they were searching for her daughter. She was upset because a car carrying the Murdaugh’s pulled up and they were immediately allowed to enter the crime scene. Tinsley got involved in the case shortly after.

      4:51 p.m. EST – Tinsley can’t remember the first time he met Murdaugh, but states he’s known him since he began his practice. Murdaugh served as a special referee in one of Mark Tinsley’s cases. Tinsley says he has been in court when Murdaugh has done a closing argument.

      4:48 p.m. EST – Tinsley explains his practice. He states there is no case too small or too big. If he can help a client, he will help a client.

      4:45 p.m. EST – The State calls Mark Tinsley to the stand. Creighton Waters is conducting the direct examination. This is Tinsley’s first time testifying in front of the jury. His first testimony was in camera on February 6, 2023

      4:41 p.m. EST – Malinowski is explaining the loans to Redbeard and 0 United Drive LLCs that were in default. According to Malinowski, despite them being in default, Murdaugh continued making periodic payments on those loans. Malinowski also states there is no reason that Murdaugh thought he could not go to the bank and get a loan in June of 2021 if he needed money. The defense has completed questioning.

      4:35 p.m. EST – Griffin is going through Murdaugh’s loans with Malinowski including a loan on Williams Islands of the coast of St. Helena Island. Malinowski admits in 2020, the balance on the home in Edisto was around $200k and it sold in July of 2022 for almost $1 million.

      4:32 p.m. EST – Jim Griffin is cross examining Jan Malinowski for the defense. Malinowski admits that PMPED and the partners at the firm were large customers for the bank.

      4:20 p.m. EST – Well this is interesting … attorney Mark Tinsley has acknowledged making a $1,000 donation to a GoFundMe page established for Shelley Smith, the witness whose testimony earlier this week implicated Alex Murdaugh in the transport of a blue raincoat “coated” in gunshot residue.

      Murdaugh’s attorneys are seeking to strike testimony based on this donation, arguing Tinsley is paying a witness in connection with a case in which he has a financial outcome.

      Judge Clifton Newman did not agree to strike any testimony, telling defense attorneys the donation would be “good fodder for cross-examination.

      For those of you interested in viewing it, here is the page …

      4:02 p.m. EST – Waters has concluded his direct examination of Malinowski … court has adjourned for a brief recess.

      4:01 p.m. EST – Lead prosecutor Creighton Waters is now getting into is “if you had known …” litany with Malinowski.

      WATERS: “If you found out the defendant was stealing would you have loaned another dime to him?”

      MALINOWSKI: “No”

      Several other similar questions follow, with Malinowski acknowledging that had the bank known Murdaugh was taking money from client trust accounts, getting fired from his job or being disbarred by the S.C. supreme court, the relationship with the bank would have ceased.

      4:00 p.m. EST – Interesting observation …

      3:55 p.m. EST – Malinowski is now being asked to go through Alex Murdaugh’s account balances at or around the time of the murders. One is a “farm account” which had a negative balance of -$2456.23. One is a personal account with a positive balance of $2,185.23. One is a health savings account with a positive balance of $7,540.61. One is a personal account with a $62,115.06 balance and one (an account with Maggie Murdaugh‘s name on it) had a balance of $23.97 on June 24, 2021.

      3:51 p.m. ESTJan Malinowski, president of Hampton, S.C.-based Palmetto State Bank (PSB), is now testifying about a pair of loans on two properties owned by Alex Murdaugh that were “charged off …” essentially, forgiven. This did not mean attempts to collect the loans ceased, merely that the bank was no longer keeping the loans on its books. Those properties were known as Redbeard and 0 United Drive.

      3:47 p.m. EST – Waters is now asking Malinowski about Murdaugh’s $1 million line of credit at the bank … which was almost totally maxed out. Another $600,000 line of credit was also almost completely maxed out.

      3:42 p.m. EST – Waters shows Malinowski a copy of the minutes from an August 17, 2021 PSB board meeting. Malinowski says in this meeting that Laffitte made reference to Murdaugh selling the Moselle property. Malinowski stated there were loans of over $3.5 million outstanding to Murdaugh. Selling Moselle at that time would have obviously covered most – if not all – of that amount.

      3:38 p.m. EST – Waters continuing to zero in on the $400,000 disbursement to Murdaugh – and the $350,000 payment to Chris Wilson‘s law firm. Both of these disbursements were approved by convicted fraudster Russell Laffitte.

      3:37 p.m. EST – Malinowski now testifying about a July 16, 2021 wire transfer to the Wilson Law Group IOLTA account of $350,000 that was a “loan not on system.” Malinowski states there was no paperwork explaining or supporting this transfer.

      3:36 p.m. EST – Agree with this, too …

      3:35 p.m. EST – No argument here …

      3:30 p.m. EST – Lead prosecutor Creighton Waters is masterfully reprising his previous questioning of Malinowksi, detailing the “flurry of activity” which took place in Palmetto State Bank (PSB)’s Hampton, S.C. office to “create loan documents after the fact” to explain a $400,000 disbursement to Murdaugh to cover his unpaid balance.

      3:25 p.m. EST – The entire courtroom erupts in laughter as Murdaugh’s $5.00 overdraft charge on an outstanding balance of nearly $350,000 is discussed.

      3:23 p.m. EST – The inimitable Jenn Wood is taking a quick break …

      3:18 p.m. EST – Malinowski states in the spring of 2021 he had no concerns regarding the relationship of the bank with Alex Murdaugh. After the murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh, Malinowski states that the board of directors did bring up Murdaugh’s relationship with the bank due to the high number of outstanding loans he had.

      3:13 p.m. EST – Malinowski has worked for Palmetto State Bank since 1991. Malinowski testifies regarding the structure of Palmetto State Bank.

      3:11 p.m. EST – The state calls Jan Malinowski, president of Hampton, S.C.-based Palmetto State Bank (PSB). Malinowski previously testified in camera (i.e. outside the presence of the jury) on February 3, 2023.

      3:10 p.m. EST – Creighton Waters is conducting re-direct of Tony Satterfield clarifying that he considered Murdaugh to be his attorney in the lawsuit.

      (Click to View)

      3:08 p.m. EST – Harpootlian asks Satterfield about the settlement he received from the lawsuit filed by Eric Bland against Murdaugh. Satterfield states he received $6.5 million as a result of Murdaugh’s confession of judgement which is more than he would have received in the settlement stolen by Murdaugh. Harpootlian asks Satterfield if he ever threatened Murdaugh prior to June 7, 2021. Satterfield says he did not.

      3:04 p.m. EST – Dick Harpootlian begins cross examination of Tony Satterfield for the defense. To his credit, Harpootlian is approaching his questioning gently. Satterfield admits that prior to June 7, 2021 there was no indication that he was accusing Murdaugh of anything.

      3:00 p.m. EST – Satterfield testifies that he checked in with Murdaugh periodically over the years and Murdaugh would always say he was making progress. Murdaugh never told him about any money received and he never received one cent. Satterfield tells Waters he is aware of a confession of judgement from Murdaugh relating to his civil case against him.

      2:54 p.m. EST – Waters asks Satterfield if in the spring of 2021 if he was made aware of any media coverage of the settlement. This caused him to reach out to Murdaugh to ask what the status of the case was. He states he believes it was after the murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.

      2:52 p.m. EST – Waters has Satterfield read a text sent to him by Murdaugh on April 12, 2021 stating he was working on the case and checking in. Satterfield responded the same day.

      2:49 p.m. EST – Murdaugh told Satterfield that he was going to involve another lawyer, Cory Fleming. He met with Fleming once or twice. Satterfield says when he had a question, he would call Murdaugh. Murdaugh told him he should have a personal representative and Satterfield signed paperwork appointing Chad Westendorf as his PR. Satterfield says that Murdaugh never told him there was a settlement in his case and he never received any money.

      2:45 p.m. EST – Satterfield says that at Gloria’s funeral, Murdaugh told him he would take care of him and his brother. Murdaugh told them he would file a claim against his insurance company and that he had a $505,000 insurance policy planning to get $100,000 for both him and his brother. Satterfield states he viewed Murdaugh as his attorney and that Murdaugh told him to send any medical bills from his mother’s stay in the hospital before she died to him directly.

      2:40 p.m. EST – Satterfield tells Creighton Waters about his mother, Gloria Satterfield. He states that Gloria fell in 2018 at the Murdaugh property known as Moselle and died as a result of those injuries. Gloria worked for the Murdaugh’s for over 20 years.

      2:35 p.m. EST – The jury is being brought into court. Judge Newman reads the instructions regarding witnesses testifying to financial crimes to the jury again at Harpootlian’s request. The State calls Tony Satterfield to the stand.

      2:30 p.m. EST – Judge Newman tells the court that Mr. Satterfield testified that he called Murdaugh to ask about the status of his case in June of 2021. He finds that Satterfield’s testimony is consistent of the State’s theory of Murdaugh being in a frantic state seeking to avoid exposure of his financial crimes and theft. As this is additional evidence that is close in point of time to his theory, he will allow it. Harpootlian tells Judge Newman that the phone records that the State is going to present show the phone call was made on June 22, 2021 – after the homicides of Maggie and Paul. Judge Newman states that the magnitude of the theft in the Satterfield case is large and feels it is more probative than prejudicial.

      2:29 p.m. EST – Harpootlian refers to Tony Satterfield as a child. Waters corrects him and says he is in his 30’s and employed as an emergency room technician. Harpootlian apologizes and says Satterfield looks like a child.

      2:17 p.m. EST – Court is back in session. Dick Harpootlian tells the judge that Creighton Waters plans to call Tony Satterfield to the stand. Harpootlian objects to Satterfield’s testimony stating it is more prejudicial than probative and would prefer a summary chart of the thefts from the Satterfield rather than calling witnesses who are victims. Waters argues that as Murdaugh was a civil defendant when misappropriating the money from the Satterfield family, this testimony is different and the State believes it is still fair game and it’s probative value is not outweighed by the danger of prejudice. Judge Newman asks Waters to clarify the timeline of the discovery of the diversion of the Satterfield money. Waters states that Satterfield heard rumors in 2021 about the status of his settlement and was asking Murdaugh for updates.

      1:31 p.m. EST Will Folks made his way back to FITSNews headquarters with some scoop. The Murdaugh family has been moved further back in the courtroom due to inappropriate conduct with Alex Murdaugh. Judge Newman has warned Buster Murdaugh and Lynn Goettee that any additional violations will result in them being barred from the courtroom. Judge Newman was also made aware of a obscene gesture made by Buster Murdaugh towards Mark Tinsley during his testimony and according to our sources was admonished by the Judge. Check out our livestream for more details: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNz2yIlNHqs

      12:52 p.m. EST – Court is in recess for 1 hour and 15 minutes for lunch.

      12:45 p.m. EST – Cross examination is complete. Creighton Waters has begun re-direct.

      12:43 p.m. EST – Griffin shows Wilson his testimony to the State Grand Jury to refresh his memory on his testimony. Wilson confirms he told the grand jury that Murdaugh wasn’t in the state of mind to speak to SLED without an attorney.

      12:39 p.m. EST – Wilson testifies that at some point during June 8, 2021 there was a discussion that Murdaugh should not interact with SLED without an attorney present. Wilson made it very clear he wanted to be Murdaugh’s friend and not his lawyer then made it clear someone else would have to be the point person on that.

      12:29 p.m. EST – Jim Griffin is focusing heavily on the fact that Wilson did not know there was issues with the Farris fee on June 7, 2021 and that it wasn’t discussed during any of Wilson and Murdaugh’s calls or texts that evening.

      12:18 p.m. EST – Wilson says there was nothing about Murdaugh’s behavior during their calls on June 7, 2021 was alarming. He did not sound out of the ordinary nor was he breathing hard. He tells Griffin that it didn’t strike him as out of the ordinary for Murdaugh to go to his mother’s house in the evening. To his knowledge, Murdaugh visited his parents most days.

      12:14 p.m. EST – Wilson says the video of Murdaugh’s birthday played is typical of how the family interacted.

      12:09 p.m. EST – The Murdaugh’s came up to Columbia, S.C. on June 5, 2021 to attend a baseball game with the Wilson family. Griffin asks Wilson if he remembers Memorial Day of 2021. Wilson does and says they got together on Saturday evening of that weekend at the Murdaugh family home in Edisto for a cookout. He states everyone was getting along.

      12:04 p.m. EST – Wilson testifies that Murdaugh was able to focus on high stress situation. He does say that Murdaugh was sometimes unfocused. He states anytime Maggie, Paul or Buster called him, Murdaugh answered.

      11:58 a.m. EST – Wilson tells Griffin that Murdaugh told him he would get money from his father’s estate. Wilson says that Murdaugh never mentioned any life insurance policies on Paul or Maggie Murdaugh. Wilson isn’t sure, but he doesn’t believe Murdaugh spent another night at Moselle after June 7, 2021. Wilson tells Griffin that if Murdaugh was addicted to opioids, there was no indicators. He never saw pill bottles and Murdaugh never seemed “out of it.” Wilson’s observation was that Murdaugh was a loving husband and father.

      11:55 a.m. EST – When asked by Griffin if at any time during June and July of 2021 he thought Murdaugh was involved in the murders of Maggie and Paul, Wilson responds, “No.”

      11:50 a.m. EST – Wilson confirms that on June 7, 2021 he had no idea that there were any issues with the Farris fee. He also says that when he spoke with Murdaugh on June 7, 2021, he didn’t seem panicked. He says no one was demanding the fees in the Farris case during that time.

      11:46 a.m. EST – The State has no further questions and Jim Griffin has begun cross examination for the defense.

      11:42 a.m. EST – Wilson doesn’t know how the conversation ended. He has not had any conversations with Murdaugh since then but did state he received a text from him. Wilson identifies this text he received on September 16, 2021 and says he responded on September 17, 2021.

      Prosecutor Creighton Waters questions Chris Wilson during Alex Murdaugh’s trial for murder at the Colleton County Courthouse on Thursday, February 9, 2023. Joshua Boucher/The State/Pool

      11:35 a.m. EST – Wilson said he woke up on September 4, 2021 and started driving to Okatie, S.C. to find Murdaugh at his brother’s home. On his way down, Murdaugh called him and asked Wilson to meet him at his mother’s house in Almeda. They met late morning around 11:00 a.m. and met for about 20 minutes. The went to the front porch to talk. Wilson said he told Murdaugh that he needed to know “what the he** was going on.” Murdaugh told him he was addicted to opioids for years and admitted to stealing money from the firm and from clients. He told Wilson, “I’m sorry, I sh** you up. I sh** a lot of people up.” Murdaugh further told Wilson that he had been good at covering things up.

      11:30 a.m. EST – Court has resumed and the jury is back. Waters is continuing his direct examination of Chris Wilson. Wilson says that on September 3, 2021, he received a call from Chris Wilson informing him about the check found in the Farris file. He spoke to Murdaugh on the phone that night about it, but said he wanted to meet with him to discuss face-to-face.

      11:06 a.m. EST – The jury has been sent to the jury room for a recess. Waters tells the Judge that in an abundant of caution, he wanted to make sure that they set the ground rules for the rest of his testimony regarding the September 4, 2021 confrontation between Murdaugh and Wilson as it involves discussion of Murdaugh’s drug use and that shortly after the confrontation the roadside shooting occurred. Judge Newman says the drug rehab was admitted yesterday in the email published by the defense so it is not an issue. He gives the defense a chance to object. Jim Griffin quickly objects saying that Wilson’s knowledge of the roadside shooting is hearsay. Judge Newman reminds Waters that Wilson’s in camera testimony did not include discussion of the roadside shooting.

      11:02 a.m. EST – Shortly after that Wilson called Murdaugh and said he needed to see him. He went down to talk to Murdaugh about it. He says $192,000 was a lot of money for him and he needed to be paid. On August 17, 2021, he asked Murdaugh to sign a document stating Murdaugh owed him money in case something happened to Murdaugh. He tells Waters he was still worried Murdaugh would kill himself. The agreement is a three sentence, handwritten agreement signed by both Murdaugh and Wilson.

      A promise note between Chris Wilson and Alex Murdaugh for full payment is presented in court in Alex Murdaugh’s trial for murder at the Colleton County Courthouse on Thursday, February 9, 2023. Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post and Courier/Pool

      10:59 a.m. EST – Wilson testifies that he spoke with Murdaugh at the convention in August of 2021 in Hilton Head, S.C. While they were playing golf he asked Murdaugh where they stood on him getting repaid the $192,000. Murdaugh told Wilson Maggie’s estate was being held in probate and he was considering selling some property. He also explained that his father had just passed and money would be coming from his father’s estate. He apologized for taking so long.

      10:56 a.m. EST – Wilson sent an email to Murdaugh on Monday, July 19, 2021 confirming he was holding in trust $600,000 in the husband’s case and $192,000 in the wife’s case and he would continue to hold in trust until he is instructed on how to make payment. He says he did not hear from the firm until Lee Cope contacted him in September about the check found in the Farris file.

      10:54 a.m. EST – Murdaugh told Wilson he didn’t have the missing $192,000 and he knew it was his responsibility to ensure the trust account had the fees. He wrote a personal check from himself and put it in the trust account. He said he can’t tell someone he is holding money in a trust account that is not there as it is his fiduciary responsibility.

      10:52 a.m. EST – Wilson says around the middle of July, Murdaugh called him about the fees. He told Wilson that he was not able to put the money into annuities and needed to be paid to the firm. Murdaugh told him he would send the money back to him to be issued to the firm. Murdaugh sent $600,000 to his firm via two wire transfers around July 15/16, 2021. One transfer came from Palmetto State Bank and one from Bank of America. One transfer was for $250,000 and one was for $350,000. When Wilson asked about the $192,000 missing, he told him it was in an annuity and couldn’t get it out without penalties. He assured him he would be able to get it out soon.

      10:50 a.m. EST – Wilson went back to Moselle the next morning around 9:30 a.m. and was there the next two days. He states he didn’t really have any conversation with Murdaugh about that night because he didn’t want Murdaugh to have to relive it. He was just there as a friend and didn’t need to know the details. Wilson confirms over the next few weeks he tried to be a supportive friend by calling more often, stopping by and encouraging him to get out of the house. Wilson said everyone was worried he would kill himself.

      10:47 a.m. EST – When Wilson arrived, he went to the main gate and not the kennels. He said he almost turned to go down to the kennels, but John Marvin and Randy were walking out and waved him to the house. He said when he walked into the house, he hugged Murdaugh’s neck and cried. There were a lot of attorneys Murdaugh practiced law with and family in the house at Moselle. Wilson says he stayed at Moselle until 4:30 or 5:30 a.m. on June 8, 2021.

      10:45 a.m. EST – Wilson told his wife that he had to get some clothes on and go to Moselle. They tried to call their children to tell them what was going on and he went straight to Moselle from Columbia, South Carolina. Wilson says his daughter is extremely close to Buster and was also close with Paul. He arrived at Moselle at around 1:00 a.m.

      10:42 a.m. EST – Wilson said Murdaugh ended the call saying he was about to get home and that he would call him tomorrow. He states he found out about the murders when his phone was buzzing by his bed. His wife came in hysterical and said you have to wake up. She was on the phone with either Randy Murdaugh or his wife. Wilson is visibly upset and his voice is shaking.

      10:39 a.m. EST – Wilson testifies that Murdaugh texted him later that evening at 9:52 p.m. that said, “Call me if you are up.” Wilson states he picked up the phone and gave him a call. The first time he called, Murdaugh didn’t answer which he said wasn’t out of the ordinary. He called him right back at 9:53 p.m. and said, “Hey Alex, got your text. Calling you back.” Wilson said he told Murdaugh he needed to talk to him about a case they were working on.

      10:36 a.m. EST – Wilson is discussing the calls he received from Murdaugh on June 7, 2021. He was watching The Bachelor with his wife and working on his pool pump. He told Murdaugh he was busy and would call him right back. The call came at 9:11 p.m. on June 7, 2021 and lasted 2 minutes. He called Murdaugh back at 9:20 p.m. Murdaugh told him he was arriving at his mom’s house and asked to call him back.

      10:30 a.m. EST – Wilson states he was working out of Hampton when Lee Cope asked him about the settlement. He told Cope that not all the money had been disbursed. He called Murdaugh about it. Murdaugh assured him everything was fine and it was taken care of.

      10:23 a.m. EST – Wilson tells Waters about the May 19, 2021 email from Annette Griswold and the May 27, 2021 email from Jeanne Seckinger to his paralegal, Vicki, asking about the checks. Vicki responded on June 2, 2021 after her return from vacation and forwarded it to Wilson. Wilson called Murdaugh that day.

      10:15 a.m. EST – Cost reimbursement checks were issued to PMPED on May 13, 2021. He states he never would have suspected Murdaugh had money problems. He had no reason to believe that he was doing something that wasn’t approved by PMPED.

      10:09 a.m. EST – Wilson confirms a check written to Richard Alexander Murdaugh for $600,000 on March 10, 2021 that says “fees” on the bottom. The check was voided and rewritten into two separate checks made payable to Richard Alexander Murdaugh. When he called Murdaugh about the checks, Murdaugh told him he needed two separate checks because he was putting them into two different annuities. The checks are admitted into evidence – one check was $192,000, one was for $225,000, a third check for $375,000 for fees. Wilson identifies what he believes the signature on the checks as Murdaugh’s.

      10:07 a.m. EST – Waters puts an exhibit on the screen for the jury that shows Murdaugh texted him on March 10, 2021 and said, “I need the money today.” He tells Waters he believed Murdaugh when he told him the firm knew about this and he trusted him. He had known him for 20 years and didn’t have any reason not to trust him.

      10:05 a.m. EST – When it came time to disbursing funds from the settlement, around March 10, 2021, Murdaugh said he was going to put the money into an annuity so the checks would need to be made directly to him. Wilson says that Murdaugh told him that he was concerned about his exposure in the civil lawsuit against him in the boat case. Murdaugh told Wilson that he had already gotten the approval to do this by the firm and that they would put the payment on their books so it was accounted for by the end of the year.

      10:00 a.m. EST – Wilson states the fees to his firm would be $791,000 and the fees to Murdaugh’s firm would be $792,000. A portion of the settlement was received in the middle of February 2021 and the rest was wired shortly after – he thinks at the end of February of 2021. Jim Griffin objects to a text exhibit being submitted stating rule 403(b). It is admitted over objection by Judge Newman.

      9:57 a.m. EST – As Covid slowed the courts down, all parties agreed to try the case without a jury, waive the right to an appeal and not pursue punitive damages. The case was tried in January 2021 and they got a verdict in both cases of $5.5 million.

      9:53 a.m. EST – Until about ten years ago, the would write one check that included costs and fees, but changed to separate checks to keep the funds separate. Regarding the Farris case against Mack trucks, he involved Murdaugh and PMPED because he realized it was a product liability case and they specialize in it.

      9:50 a.m. EST – Wilson confirms that he never associated Murdaugh on any cases when he was working in Beaufort for Moss & Kuhn law firm. Wilson states that with the exception of one or two cases, his firm handled the disbursements. When the money would come in whether by settlement or a verdict that had been paid, they would come to his office where they would sit for the amount of time required. He would then write checks to PMPED for their costs and fees and then to his firm for the same.

      9:46 a.m. EST – Wilson states he talked to Murdaugh on the phone every day. Sometimes multiple times a day. He felt like he knew Murdaugh well. When Wilson first started his firm, Murdaugh’s firm had a lot more resources than his small firm so he did associate cases often for resource purposes. As his firm grew, they did not have as many associated cases, but if he felt like working with Murdaugh’s firm would benefit his client, he would associate with Murdaugh and PMPED. He states all the associated cases worked with Murdaugh were worked on a contingency basis. That means the lawyer fronts all the costs for the case and the lawyer takes on the risk.

      9:44 a.m. EST – Wilson met Alex Murdaugh in high school, but didn’t become close friends with him until law school. He says when they both moved back to the lowcountry, they became close friends. Wilson considered Murdaugh to be his best friend. He got to know his entire family very well. Their kids were the same age and they did a lot of things together. They worked together.

      Chris Wilson, trial attorney, is questioned by prosecutor Creighton Waters during a hearing in the middle of 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

      9:41 a.m. EST – The State calls Chris Wilson to the stand. Wilson testified previously in camera on February 2, 2023. This is the first time he has testified in front of the jury.

      9:37 a.m. EST – Falkofske states that if there is a device registered to the vehicle, the vehicle will automatically connect. He testifies that some location data was recovered from the OnStar module, but no data was recovered on June 7, 2021. No further questions from the defense or the State.

      9:34 a.m. EST – Falkofske confirms the data was very difficult to download due to encryption by the manufacturer. The reverse engineering process took the FBI lab almost a year and the FBI will be able to use the technology they developed for future work. Falkofske states that they did not request the assistance of the manufacturer.

      9:31 a.m. EST – Court is now in session. After a bomb threat and court ending earlier than usual, Judge Newman is starting promptly today. The jury is being brought in and FBI vehicle data analyst Dwight Falkofske is resuming his place on the stand for cross examination by the defense.

      9:22 a.m. EST – Good morning from the Colleton County Courthouse! I’ll be resuming the live feed when court resumes at 9:30 a.m.

      8:07 a.m. EST – Again, in case you are just catching up on our updates from yesterday’s bomb scare, sources familiar with the situation say it was some “baby momma drama” involving a detained inmate in Ridgeland, S.C. Nothing to do with the Murdaugh trial.

      7:49 a.m. EST – Some history on “Bo Whoop,” the name given to the shotgun owned by former S.C. fourteenth circuit solicitor Randolph Murdaugh III (Alex Murdaugh’s father) …

      7:04 a.m. EST – Our founding editor Will Folks has penned an analysis of the pressure facing prosectors in this case …

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      5 comments

      Lili February 9, 2023 at 1:14 pm

      Has Alex Murdaugh been medically diagnosed as having an opioid addiction? Is he being treated for opioid addiction withdrawal while incarcerated?

      Reply
      Ralph Hightower Top fan February 9, 2023 at 2:42 pm

      Dem Murdaughs, Buster and Lynn, are a real class act.

      Reply
      Courtney Walters Top fan February 9, 2023 at 3:05 pm

      Dickey Doo is as vile as his client.

      Reply
      Kevin Hanley Top fan February 9, 2023 at 7:13 pm

      Prosecution is dragging. Most of these witnesses were better in camera. Tinsley is bloviating on every question. He was much better without the jury.

      Reply
      Gwen Strickland Top fan February 9, 2023 at 10:13 pm

      Prosecution should revue the timeline with the video of all three at the kennels as well as the drive and park of Alec’s car and also use the time of the park and drive of the car after he visited his mother. Really shows the times for murder, and hiding or disposing of evidence. How about XRAY of wooded areas around parents home for weapons???

      Reply

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