Murdaugh’s defense and prosecution teams


By Andy Ann

On Monday, Jan. 23 the jury selection process will begin for the highly anticipated murder trial scheduled for former South Carolina attorney, Richard “Alex” Murdaugh, who has been formally disbarred from practice. Murdaugh comes from a prominent family in the Lowcountry that has practiced law for multiple generations.

Murdaugh has been indicted for over 100 criminal charges, including double murder. His wife, Maggie, was shot with a rifle. His son, Paul, was shot with a shotgun. Both were murdered Monday, June 7, 2021, at their family estate, Moselle, located in Colleton County.

Investigations into Murdaugh’s alleged criminal activities and murders have garnered attention from many at an international level. Locals try to prepare in a variety of ways for food and lodging in anticipation of many media outlets and followers that will be descending upon the small town of Walterboro.

A planning committee with officials from the city, county, and law enforcement have been working together as they prepare for the upcoming trial. The actual trial proceedings will be streamed live through CourtTV.

Murdaugh’s legal criminal defense team is led by Attorney Richard “Dick” Harpootlian and Attorney Jim Griffin. Harpootlian has experience in prosecution, defense, and civil litigation for over 30 years. He has worked hundreds of murder cases as the Fifth Circuit’s lead homicide prosecutor.

Harpootlian and his private practice have been recognized at both state and national levels. He has made appearances on multiple news broadcast outlets on local, state, and national levels. He also serves as a democratic state senator for District 20.

Griffin has over 30 years of experience as a healthcare attorney and trial lawyer. He has served clients at state and federal levels for criminal and civil cases, including fraud. He also has vast experience in cases with legal challenges in the medical and healthcare arena.

The state prosecutors’ team is led by Creighton Waters from the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office. He has over 24 years of experience as a prosecutor for the state. He has won numerous cases against those with criminal activity who served in positions such as law enforcement, school, and county officials.

The judge presiding over the murder trial is the Honorable Clifton Newman and he will need to take into consideration some pretrial motions that will be submitted before the actual trial begins. Some of those motions may include what evidence pertaining to the financial criminal charges can be presented, if any, as a means for a motive for the murders.

There will be 12 residents from Colleton County that will serve as jurors, plus six selected as alternates. The jury selection process will begin on Monday, Jan. 23, and is anticipated to take two days to complete. As of the date of this publication, the trial is currently scheduled to run through Friday, Feb. 10. However, the length of the trial is ultimately dependent on how involved the proceedings become and how much time the jurors spend in deliberations before a final verdict can be decided.


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