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Crime & Courts

Feds Grill South Carolina Judge Accused Of Corruption

Perry Buckner under the microscope …

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Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have reportedly questioned a retired South Carolina circuit court judge with deep ties to the erstwhile influential law firm of convicted killer and confessed fraudster Alex Murdaugh.

And according to our sources, several of the questions investigators put to former S.C. circuit court judge Perry Buckner were tied to his relationship with Murdaugh, his family and the Hampton, S.C.-based firm that until recently bore his name.

Buckner isn’t the only one federal agents have interviewed, either. According to our sources, multiple local officials in the S.C. fourteenth judicial circuit – the five-county region once known as the “Murdaugh’s playground” – have also been questioned by the FBI. Multiple attorneys who tried cases before Buckner have also been questioned by the feds – and by state investigators.

Also worth remembering? Buckner isn’t the only judge caught up in this ongoing anti-corruption investigation, which the FBI is conducting in cooperation with agents of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).

Buckner retired from the bench in 2020, but like many Palmetto State judges he continued to hear cases after he stepped down. This “quasi-retired” status came to an abrupt end earlier this year, though, after federal agents grilled Buckner over his proximity to the Murdaughs – including his alleged receipt of numerous impermissible, undisclosed benefits including numerous meals, trips and other gifts.

One specific line of questioning reportedly dealt with flights Buckner allegedly took on private planes – flights allegedly subsidized by the Murdaugh firm.

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Buckner was also reportedly questioned extensively about his relationship with embattled Colleton County clerk of court Becky Hill, who is currently staring down multiple ethics investigations as well as allegations that she improperly influenced jurors during Murdaugh’s double homicide trial earlier this year.

Murdaugh was found guilty by a Colleton County jury of the graphic 2021 murders of his wife – 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh – and younger son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh. S.C. circuit court judge Clifton Newman handed down a pair of life sentences in the case.

Jurors deliberated for less than three hours before returning their verdicts.

Hill has denied the tampering allegations, which are expected to be addressed in detail at an evidentiary hearing sometime next year. Murdaugh’s appeal of his murder convictions is on hold pending that hearing – which is at the center of his bid for a new trial.

Murdaugh has also since pleaded guilty to dozens of financial crimes at both the federal and state level. Those crimes related to a myriad of schemes to defraud former clients, law partners, friends, family members and insurance companies of millions of dollars.

As we await the next steps in this process, our media outlet has continued to shine a light on the underlying institutional corruption which enabled Murdaugh’s fleecings.

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RELATED | BECKY HILL FALLOUT

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“We have said from the beginning of this scandal – (it’s) crime and corruption,” I noted on a recent edition of our Week In Review program. “There was crime but there’s underlying system abuse of this system – and we have not seen the accountability for that.”

“We are still waiting for the accountability on that corruption side,” I added, specifically calling out Buckner and circuit court judges Carmen Mullen. “A lot of these judges who were thick as thieves with the Murdaughs – we need to continue to keep the heat on that side of this investigation.”

Will Buckner be held accountable? Will Mullen?

Upon the occasion of his official retirement three years ago, state lawmakers passed a resolution praising Buckner as “a leader in his profession and community” as well as “a devout Christian,” who brought “passion, commitment and leadership” to the bench.

Did he also bring an unfair bias? One which stemmed from his relationship with the Murdaugh fiefdom?

Stay tuned …

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

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 and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.

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8 comments

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VERITAS Top fan December 13, 2023 at 10:24 am

FITS NEWS, keep the pressure on the South Carolina injustice system. Murdaughs broke the law and peddled influence for a century and PiMPED was a player. How PiMPED is still in business is curious to me, considering their complete lack of oversight. I guess it’s okay for their clients to hate them while at the same time benefitting from the firm’s ambulance-chasing and financial influence on judges, law enforcement and state legislators. The incestuous practice of state lawMAKERS peddling favoritism and influence by appointing judges is a primary reason the injustice continues to thrive.

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PGT Beauregard III Top fan December 13, 2023 at 10:36 am

What crime or corrupt act committed by Buckner are you alleging? I’ve yet to read it in your agitprop. That he flew to hunt ducks in Arkansas with some PMPED lawyers he is longtime friends with? Sic, you and Mandy Matney have more in common than you may be willing to acknowledge – sort of Flamingos of a Feather?

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Amanda Williams Top fan December 13, 2023 at 1:39 pm

Doesn’t matter that he was friends with them, he should have paid his proportionate cost of the flight and documented it. That’s what ethical people do.

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PGT Beauregard III Top fan December 13, 2023 at 4:02 pm

Cite the criminal statute he has violated. What crime is he alleged to have committed? Yawn.

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Anonymous December 13, 2023 at 1:56 pm

The Legal System in America is nothing more than the old Mafia. Just follow the news enough and you will see the corruption.

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PGT Beauregard III Top fan December 13, 2023 at 4:01 pm

Cite the criminal statute he has violated. What crime is he alleged to have committed? Yawn.

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Amanda Top fan December 14, 2023 at 4:47 am

Well, I guess that would depend on who’s dime footed that bill? If it were the same ppl who paid for Alex and Corys trip to watch a basketball game,and first class at that, then I would say it’s a very big issue. I think the victims have probably paid enough for others to go and blow at their expense. Don’t you?

Reply
Eyes4Lies December 17, 2023 at 7:00 pm

Why are you repeatedly cyber harassing these people? You can be prosecuted. And you are not anonymous nor hidden.

Reply

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