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Convicted murderer and disgraced attorney Alex Murdaugh pleads guilty to more financial crimes in state court

The Trial of Alex Murdaugh
The Trial of Alex Murdaugh 41:32

Alex Murdaugh pleaded guilty Friday to financial crimes in state court, adding to the prison time facing the longtime lawyer who was convicted of killing his wife and son.

Murdaugh agreed to plead guilty to more than a dozen counts, including money laundering, breach of trust and financial fraud, in exchange for a 27-year sentence. The sentence must be approved by Judge Clifton Newman, who set a sentencing hearing for Nov. 28 at which victims or their families will get to speak.

"This is a win for the victims and for justice in South Carolina. We hope the families he betrayed and stole from feel a little peace that he is going to serve time for those crimes," said state Attorney General Alan Wilson in a statement. "It doesn't matter your last name, your position, or your connections — no one is above the law in South Carolina."

Murdaugh, a son of a prominent legal family who was himself an attorney, was disbarred last year and forced out of the firm his great-grandfather founded. His grandfather's portrait was removed from the courtroom for Murdaugh's murder trial under the judge's order.

Murdaugh is already serving life in prison without parole after he was convicted in March of two counts of murder. Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and the couple's younger son Paul, 22, were shot to death in 2021 at Moselle, the family's estate in Colleton County, in the state's Lowcountry region. 

The financial crimes — Murdaugh was initially charged with 100 — and the murders are just part of the family's scandals. Paul, before his death, had been accused of being drunk underage while driving his family's boat during a 2019 crash that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach.

The family's former housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, died in a 2018 fall at Moselle, and Murdaugh faced criminal charges for alleged insurance fraud related to a wrongful death suit over the 57-year-old's death. And older son Buster has denied any involvement in the death of former classmate Stephen Smith, who was found dead on a road near Moselle in 2015, calling the speculation "vicious rumors."

Alex Murdaugh's lawyers are seeking a new trial in the double murder case, citing allegations that the court clerk tampered with the jury. The clerk has denied the allegations.

Murdaugh already admitted his guilt in federal court in September to 22 counts of financial fraud and money laundering,
which included those related to Satterfield's death.

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