Alex Murdaugh jurors hear testimony of alleged financial crimes, possible motive for murder
Published in News & Features
WALTERBORO, S.C. — Jurors in Alex Murdaugh’s murder trial heard testimony for the first time Tuesday about allegations the former Hampton-based lawyer had for years stolen millions of dollars from his former law firm, and learned how those thefts might play into the motive for the June 2021 murders of his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul.
On Monday, Judge Clifton Newman ruled the jury could hear for the first time witness testimony about Murdaugh’s 10 years of hidden thefts from his law firm, his clients and others of more than $4.8 million.
That opened the way on Tuesday for two witnesses — Murdaugh’s former law partner Ronnie Crosby and the law firm’s chief financial officer Jeanne Seckinger — to provide a window into the lucrative and close knit world of attorneys at the law firm founded and run by generations of Murdaughs.
Seckinger, the CFO at Parker Law Group — what was formerly named Peters Murdaugh Parker Eltzroth & Detrick, or PMPED — testified first Tuesday, this time with the jury present, that Murdaugh stole money from his law firm for years.
In one example, Seckinger recounted a 2017 incident when Murdaugh accidentally received a check for $121,358 that was meant for his brother, Randy, also an attorney at the firm. Seckinger said Murdaugh told the firm he lost the check and had another made out to him in the same ammount. Murdaugh cashed that check and a year later cashed the original check, twice taking money that was not meant for him, she said.
“If a lawyer converts a check to themself and not the law firm, what would that be?” lead prosecutor Creighton Waters asked Seckinger on Tuesday.
“Stealing,” she said, repeating the word several more times when asked to describe Murdaugh’s actions.
“Did you really know Alex Murdaugh?” Waters asked.
“I don’t think anybody really knew him,” Seckinger replied.
After the 2017 incident, Seckinger said another attorney, Danny Henderson, spoke to Murdaugh, who apologized and returned the money to the law firm, which then made out the correct $121,358 check to Randy.
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