COLUMBIA, S.C. — Alex Murdaugh’s attorney Dick Harpootlian has filed a complaint with the state lawyers’ disciplinary body against Eric Bland, the attorney who represents the estate of Murdaugh’s deceased housekeeper, for comments he’s made to various media organizations.
The new complaint against Bland contains the same allegations Harpootlian made in a Nov. 22 motion seeking a gag order against Bland in Hampton County Circuit Court, Bland told a reporter Monday.
John Nichols, head of the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, the group that operates under the S.C. Supreme Court, said Monday he could neither “confirm nor deny” the existence of a complaint. Nichols’ group investigates complaints against lawyers out of sight of public view and typically does not comment on ongoing complaints.
Harpootlian said Monday afternoon, “I have no comment.”
But Bland said Monday he is not going to give up his right as a lawyer to speak publicly to counter what he called drastically incorrect portrayals of various legal statements by Murdaugh’s lawyers.
“I defy Mr. Harpootlian to point to anything that I have publicly said that is not true and has not been borne out,” Bland said.
In one major legal action, Bland and his partner, Ronnie Richter, are suing Murdaugh, seeking $4.3 million plus other damages from Murdaugh for an alleged embezzlement of former housekeeper Satterfield’s $4.3 million estate.
At various times, Bland said, Harpootlian has made statements that have “included that Mr. Murdaugh is not responsible for his conduct because he is a 20-year opioid addict ... (and) that Mr. Murdaugh was the alleged victim of a failed roadside murder at the hands of Charles “Cousin” Eddie (Smith).”
“The (lawyers’) Rules of Professional Conduct permit an attorney to correct a false narrative,” Bland said.
Bland added that statements by Murdaugh’s lawyers that imply his allegedly lawless behavior was due to years-long opioid addiction are in stark contrast to Murdaugh’s 20-year history as a “highly successful lawyer.”