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Crime After Being Accused of Misusing Funds, Alex Murdaugh Has His Law License Suspended

22:15  08 september  2021
22:15  08 september  2021 Source:   people.com

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  Murdaugh family killings: A timeline of murder and mystery in South Carolina For 87 years, the Murdaugh family name came to represent a legal dynasty in coastal South Carolina, where three successive generations controlled the local prosecutor's office.But in recent years, the family has been closely connected to bloody tragedy. There was a fatal boating crash in 2019, the killings of two family members in June, the shooting of a family member last week and allegations of fraud and drug abuse.

Following allegations that he misused funds, beleaguered South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh was suspended from practicing law in the state where his powerful family has dominated the legal landscape for more than a century.

Krists Neilands et al. posing for a photo: The Murdaugh family © Provided by People The Murdaugh family

On Wednesday, five days after being accused of diverting funds from his law firm, Peters Murdaugh Parker Eltzroth & Detrick, the South Carolina Supreme Court placed Alex on an interim suspension, according to an order obtained by PEOPLE.

The suspension comes just days after the 53-year-old scion of the powerful Murdaugh family — whose wife and son were murdered in June and who himself sustained a gunshot wound to the head on Saturday — resigned from PMPED, the prestigious firm his grandfather founded more than 100 years ago.

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a man and woman posing for a photo: Facebook Maggie and Paul Murdaugh © Provided by People Facebook Maggie and Paul Murdaugh

What followed was a head-spinning turn of events over Labor Day weekend. On Saturday, a day after members of the firm confronted Alex about the alleged missing funds, which could exceed $1 million, FITSNews and The Island Packet report, he called 911 to say he'd been shot on the side of the road while changing a tire. After being released from the hospital on Monday with a superficial wound, according to authorities, Alex announced that he was resigning from the firm and entering rehab for substance abuse.

Krists Neilands et al. posing for a photo: The Murdaugh family © Provided by People The Murdaugh family

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His woes continued on Wednesday when he was officially suspended by the state's highest court. According to the order, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel had asked the Court to place Alex on interim suspension pursuant to Rule 17(b) of the Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement contained in Rule 413 of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules.

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According to that rule, "Upon receipt of sufficient evidence demonstrating that a lawyer poses a substantial threat of serious harm to the public or to the administration of justice, the Supreme Court may place the lawyer on interim suspension pending a final determination in any proceeding under these rules."

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The order states that Alex consented to the temporary suspension.

Blow to a Legal Dynasty

The suspension dealt a blow to the reputation of the Murdaugh family, which is considered a legal dynasty throughout the state and especially in the Lowcountry region in the southern portion of the state, where the firm is located.

"Pretty much everyone in the Lowcountry has heard of the Murdaughs," one resident previously told PEOPLE. "They are very powerful around here."

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In 1910, Randolph Murdaugh Sr. started his own law firm in Hampton, which grew into a multimillion-dollar practice with offices in three counties where generations of Murdaughs have worked ever since, including Alex.

a tree in the middle of a park: FitsNews.com Entrance to the Murdaugh property © Provided by People FitsNews.com Entrance to the Murdaugh property

Starting in 1920, Randolph Murdaugh Sr. became the first of a succession of Murdaughs to serve as Solicitor in the 14th Judicial Circuit, prosecuting criminal cases in four counties.

Alex had worked as a volunteer solicitor — until now. On Wednesday, the Solicitor's Office said Alex would no longer prosecute cases as a volunteer, The Island Packet reports.

All this came after members of his law firm confronted Alex about the firm's missing money, The New York Times reports.

The firm then notified law enforcement and the South Carolina Bar Association, according to the paper.

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  Prominent S.C. Attorney Resigned from Family’s Law Firm After Being Accused of Misappropriating Funds. He Was Shot in the Head the Next Day. "This is disappointing news for all of us," the firm's statement said. "Rest assured that our firm will deal with this in a straightforward manner." The post Prominent S.C. Attorney Resigned from Family’s Law Firm After Being Accused of Misappropriating Funds. He Was Shot in the Head the Next Day. first appeared on Law & Crime.Richard Alexander “Alex” Murdaugh, 53, the scion of a legal dynasty spanning hundreds of years in the Palmetto State’s Lowcountry region, called 911 on Saturday to report that he had been shot by a passing motorist while checking his own car on the side of the road.

A Family in Crisis

On Saturday, a day after the members confronted Alex, he called 911 to say he had been shot while changing a tire.

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According to the S.C. Law Enforcement Division, he sustained "a superficial gunshot wound to the head."

On Monday, Alex announced that he had resigned from the firm and entered rehab.

Alex's lawyer, Jim Griffin, told PEOPLE in a statement that "Alex resigned from the firm after being accused of diverting lawyer fees. These allegations prompted him to confront his dependency and he voluntarily checked into an in-patient substance abuse rehab facility after being discharged from the hospital Monday."

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Referencing the allegations of malfeasance against him, members of PMPED said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE: "This is disappointing news for all of us."

Stating that the firm had cut all ties with Murdaugh, firm members wrote, "Rest assured that our firm will deal with this in a straightforward manner. There's no place in our firm for such behavior."

According to the Island Packet, a forensic accounting firm is now conducting an investigation into the missing funds.

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The ordeal for the Murdaughs began on June 7, when Alex allegedly told police that he'd come home to find his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and their son Paul Murdaugh, 22, murdered on the grounds of the family's 1,770-acre hunting lodge.

a piece of luggage sitting on the side of a house: Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post And Courier via AP Murdaugh property © Provided by People Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post And Courier via AP Murdaugh property

Though no arrests have been made as authorities continue to investigate, the murders made national news and shined a light on a string of mysterious deaths surrounding the family. At the time of his death, Paul was facing charges in connection with the boating accident that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach in 2019.

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In a statement on Wednesday, Alex's older brother, Randolph Murdaugh IV, shed light on how he and members of the firm were dealing with Alex's growing list of troubles.

"I was shocked, just as the rest of my PMPED family, to learn of my brother, Alex's, drug addiction and stealing of money," he said in the statement, which was obtained by PEOPLE. "I love my law firm, family, and also love Alex as my brother. While I will support him in his recovery, I do not support, condone, or excuse his conduct in stealing by manipulating his most trusted relationships."

Jim Griffin did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's requests for comment.

Alex Murdaugh Accused of Misappropriating Money from Law Firm, Forced to Resign Before Shooting .
The South Carolina attorney was confronted by members of his law firm just one day before he was shot in the head by an unknown suspect "This is disappointing news for all of us," PMPED said in a statement obtained by the Island Packet, noting that the firm had cut all ties with Murdaugh. "Rest assured that our firm will deal with this in a straightforward manner. There's no place in our firm for such behavior." Murdaugh's attorney Jim Griffin told PEOPLE in a statement that "Alex resigned from the firm after being accused of diverting lawyer fees.

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