BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (Court TV) —Moments after Alex Murdaugh’s Change of Venue Motion hearing began, sources told Court TV that a global plea deal may be reached for all of the convicted killer’s financial crimes charges.
Friday’s Change of Venue Motion hearing comes just two weeks before his trial for financial crimes was set to begin.
Alex Murdaugh entered the courtroom in handcuffs, wearing his bright orange SCDC jumpsuit, then took a seat next to his defense attorney, Jim Griffin. Shortly after, the honorable Judge Clifton Newman took the bench to say there were matters the parties needed to discuss but did not know how long it would take. He recessed the court and counsel left the courtroom presumably to Judge Newman’s chambers.
Disgraced former attorney Alex Murdaugh was convicted by a jury in March 2023 of killing his wife and son and was sentenced by Judge Clifton Newman to two life sentences. Murdaugh has maintained his innocence as he appeals his sentence and asks for a new trial.
But separate from the murder case, Murdaugh was indicted on more than 100 charges in South Carolina for financial crimes spanning several counties. Indictments obtained by Court TV indicate that Murdaugh is facing charges for financial crimes in Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Orangeburg County. Murdaugh pleaded guilty in federal court in September on a number of charges, including bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.
Murdaugh’s first of the state-level financial crimes trials is scheduled to begin Nov. 27 in Beaufort County, where he was indicted in 2021 in charges of obtaining a signature of property by false pretenses, among other charges. The case centers around the estate of Gloria Satterfield, the Murdaugh family’s long-time housekeeper.
Satterfield suffered a fall at the Murdaugh family’s Moselle estate and died from complications from the head injury she sustained. In recent months, Murdaugh has admitted that he lied to his insurance company at the time, claiming that his dogs caused her fall in order to get a settlement payment.
Murdaugh is charged with taking more than $3 million paid by his insurance company that was meant for the Satterfield family and taking it for his personal use. The Satterfield family has separately filed a lawsuit against Murdaugh for the money he allegedly stole.
In a motion filed just two weeks before the trial’s scheduled start date, attorneys for Alex Murdaugh have asked for the trial to be moved to a different county due to the “unprecedented media coverage” of his murder trial. The motion argues that it will not be possible to seat a fair and impartial jury and claims of the 167 jury panel questionnaires returned to the court, 147 have reported prior knowledge about the defendant and his criminal charges.
Attached to the motion are several responses from potential jurors:
- “If you want unbiased I’m not your juror! My mind is made up on this case.”
- “I believe he is guilty of killing his wife & son – if that counts…”
- “No. Normally I’d say yes, but in this case, given the defendant, I already believe he is guilty.”
- “I have read, viewed heard numerous accounts of A. Murdaugh upon moving to Beaufort County. While I am not a gossip junkie I believe he has committed dispicable acts on his family, employees and associates. He is malicious and unforgivable. He should rot in prison.”
The motion recognizes that transferring the venue to another county in the Circuit would not be an option and proposes a stay of the trial — as well as the other financial trials Murdaugh is facing — for at least one year. “What is the rush to dispose of this case before the end of 2023?” attorneys ask in the motion.
In separate motions filed on Nov. 1 with the South Carolina Supreme Court, Murdaugh’s attorneys have similarly asked for a stay of his cases and have also requested that Judge Newman be removed from the case. No hearings have been scheduled.