COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – State Grand Jury Judge Allison Lee said she will consider evidence and testimony presented Monday in a bond reduction hearing for disgraced Hampton County attorney Alex Murdaugh when deciding whether to reduce the $7 million bond she set last month.
The bond hearing is connected to 48 State Grand Jury Charges including, but not limited to, fraud, forgery, computer crimes, and money laundering. Murdaugh is accused of defrauding former clients out of more than $6 million dollars over a period of time dating back to at least 2016.
The bond reduction hearing comes less than a week after Alex Murdaugh’s Attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin filed a motion to consider a reduced bond Jury on January 4th. In the motion, Harpootlian and Griffin stated their client has less than $10,000 in his bank account and “couldn’t afford to pay his phone bill,” let alone the bond set by Judge Lee.
Prosecutors for the State of South Carolina say the bond should remain at $7 million due to the number of assets Murdaugh could have access to, which they believe to be worth “substantial” amounts of money. They fear that Murdaugh could be a flight risk.
Attorneys Peter McCoy and John Lay, who were appointed as receivers to Murdaugh’s assets, presented their findings as part of the hearing. They say they have identified a Murdaugh-owned bank account with roughly $10,000, a more than $2 million retirement fund, numerous other protected and unprotected assets.
Thomas Moore, a South Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper who Murdaugh is accused of swindling out of more than $100,000 while serving as his lawyer in a personal injury settlement, testified during the hearing. He said that if Murdaugh can steal from him, he can steal from anyone.
Judge Lee says she will take all of the information presented during Monday’s nearly two-hour bond reduction hearing into consideration before issuing a written decision on Murdaugh’s bond. Judge Lee didn’t provide a timetable for the decision.