A South Carolina judge on Tuesday acted to freeze the assets of disgraced legal scion Alex Murdaugh, as well as his surviving son, Buster Murdaugh, appointing independent receivers to survey their finances.
Circuit Judge Daniel Hall sided with Mark Tinsley, an attorney suing Alex Murdaugh on behalf of the family of 19-year-old Mallory Beach, who was killed in a crash on Murdaugh’s boat which prosecutors said his late son, Paul Murdaugh, was driving while intoxicated and underage in February 2019.
The family’s lawsuit says Murdaugh is trying to hide millions of dollars they could possibly collect in their lawsuit and he could shift money between unknown accounts and potentially sell off property and a boat after he turned all his affairs over to his surviving son, Buster Murdaugh.
An attorney representing surviving boat passenger, Connor Cook, who was seriously injured in the crash and has since alleged Alex Murdaugh attempted to use his lawyer friend and former college roommate, Corey Fleming, to silence him, had also asked the judge to freeze Murdaugh’s assets last week.
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As did the lawyers representing the sons of Gloria Satterfield, the family’s housekeeper and nanny whose mysterious and deadly trip and fall accident at the Murdaugh home in 2018 has since been reopened by state law enforcement. South Carolina Circuit Judge Clifton Newman recently denied bond for Alex Murdaugh on charges alleging he stole more than $3.4 million in settlement funds from the wrongful death lawsuit related to Satterfield’s death. He remains held at the Richland County jail.
“He’s living pretty well for someone with no assets. He has a crisis manager,” Tinsley said at Friday’s hearing.
“Our judges now are consistently stating by their orders that putting a pen in Alex’s hand is just as dangerous as putting a gun in those same hands,” Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter, two attorneys both representing Satterfield’s sons and her estate, said in statement provided to Fox News Digital Tuesday. “Going forward, they have taken the pen away from him and his son Buster.”
“Our justice system in South Carolina is working as intended. It is designed to protect victims from being further victimized by someone like Alex Murdaugh,” Bland and Richter continued. “Alex now realizes so many eyes are on him and that he is pretty tightly boxed in. Good lawyering and good judges will do that to guys like Alex Murdaugh. He should be now on his way to getting comfortable being uncomfortable that we talked about in his bond hearing after being charged with stealing Gloria Satterfield’s money.”
The injunction granted Tuesday prevents Buster and Alex “from doing anything further by way of transfers, sales, forgiveness of debt or payments to extinguish alleged debt and voids the power of attorney that Alex gave to Buster in September,” according to Bland and Richter.
At a hearing before the judge in Chesterfield County Friday, one of Murdaugh’s lawyers, John Tiller, argued that his client has not been found responsible in any civil suits since his wife and son were killed and has insurance to cover if he is required to pay damages. Tiller also argued if Murdaugh loses control of his assets, it would open the door for similar things to happen in countless other cases if the person who sues thinks the defendant does not have enough insurance.
“He’s living pretty well for someone with no assets. He has a crisis manager,” Tinsley said at the hearing.
Hall appointed John T. Lay and Peter McCoy as receivers tasked with cataloging all of Murdaugh’s assets and approving whether he can spend money. They will be entitled to part of any legal settlements or judgments against Murdaugh in the cases they are involved, WIS-TV reported..
“They are both principled and will be fair to all parties,” Bland and Richter said. “They will have no friends to reward or enemies to punish. They are straight down the middle guys.
Newman, the judge handling the Murdaugh criminal cases, last month asked for a report on his mental state before considering whether to set bond. A date for a hearing has not been set.
Remaining unsolved now for nearly five months are the deaths of Murdaugh’s wife, Maggie, 52, and their son Paul, 22. Murdaugh said he returned to their rural Colleton County home to find them shot to death. Tight-lipped state police have neither named any suspects nor ruled anyone out. Murdaugh has adamantly denied having anything to do with their killings.
The deaths lead to five more criminal investigations into Murdaugh, from whether he stole money from the family’s century-old PMPED Law Firm to the events around his housekeeper’s death and insurance payout to whether he or his family tried to obstruct the investigation into the boat crash.
While the criminal investigations into Murdaugh continue — he also has been charged with trying to arrange his own death so his surviving son could get a $10 million life insurance policy — the civil lawsuits against him are also piling up.
Murdaugh faces at least six lawsuits seeking money as damages, from claims over the 2019 fatal boat crash to allegations he stole accidental death insurance settlements meant for his housekeeper’s sons and money from his family’s century-old law firm to his own brother saying Murdaugh owes him $46,500 on $90,000 loaned in September in part to get Murdaugh into drug rehab.
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Last week, at least two more lawsuits were filed against Murdaugh looking to collect debts. His old PMPED Law Firm sued, saying they loaned him $470,000 in 2021 and has not been paid back. The law firm has a separate suit against Murdaugh seeking money they said he stole from them. That suit didn’t specify and amount, but legal papers have suggested it is in the millions.
Also Randolph Murdaugh IV sued his brother, saying $90,000 he loaned before his arrest to help his brother make payroll and after the arrest for rehab has not been paid back minus a $43,500 tractor and rotary cutter that court papers said were given to the brother after Alex Murdaugh first tried to sell it.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.