Witnesses testify on Alex Murdaugh’s financial crimes in front of jury
WALTERBORO, Sc. (WTOC) - Tuesday was the first time the jury got to hear about financial crime charges against Alex Murdaugh.
Jeannie Seckinger is the chief financial officer of Murdaugh’s former law firm and was the first witness called during the private hearing held last week, and Monday.
After the judge ruled financial evidence and witnesses could be included in the double murder trial, she was called to the stand again Tuesday, but this time in front of the jury.
“My concern was that he had stolen fees that were paid to him personally.”
Just as she testified last Thursday in a hearing with only lawyers and the judge present, Seckinger again explained Alex stole millions of dollars over a decade.
“We were very concerned that he was trying to do that and we didn’t want any part of it.”
She says she started getting suspicious in May of 2021, and says she confronted Murdaugh about it the afternoon of June 7th, just hours before Maggie and Paul were murdered.
“He looked at me with a pretty dirty look, one I had not seen before, and said, ‘what do you need now?’ Clearly disgusted with me, which kind of raised my hat also so I said let’s go in your office.”
She demanded proof Alex hadn’t stolen money from a specific case... he said he’d get it to her. After the murders that night though, Seckinger says the focus of the office shifted off his potential financial wrongs and onto his well-being.
Those financial issues would be brought back up a few months later though after the firm found more evidence of stealing, with the partners inviting Alex’s eldest brother Randy to see it for himself.
“Randy came in, we presented him the evidence and he immediately hung his head and said he stole it we’ve got to do something about this.”
The state walked through case by case where they say Murdaugh stole money from clients and the law firm.
“Did you really know Alex Murdaugh?” asked state prosecutor Creighton Waters.
“I don’t think I ever knew him. I don’t think anybody did.” said Seckinger.
The judge reminded the jury after that that these financial witnesses are just testifying to potential motive for murder and are not character witnesses. A point the defense immediately hit home.
“We’re not here today to try those charges on the financial crimes, we’re here as you understand and are testifying because he’s been charged with the murder of his wife Maggie and son Paul?” asked defense attorney Jim Griffen.
The next witness called to the stand also worked with Alex at his former law firm for decades and testified to the financial wrongdoings. He recalled his colorful reaction to first hearing about what Alex might be up to with other people’s money.
“I said oh, no he’s not.”
Ronnie Crosby is the first witness throughout this trial where we’ve seen the state bring their case together. He eulogized Paul Murdaugh after the murders, so the state then asked him about Paul... prompting emotion from Crosby and Alex.
After that the state brought back the video Paul took at the kennels moments before he was killed and had Crosby identify the who he hears in it.
“The three voices in that video are the voices of Paul Murdaugh, Maggie Murdaugh and Alex Murdaugh,” said Crosby.
“How sure are you?”
“I’m 100% sure.”
They had him confirm Alex said he hadn’t been at the kennels around that time. They moved forward a few months to when Crosby confirmed Alex was stealing millions.
“My words then were that we have to terminate Alex, he can no longer practice with us.”
The defense’s cross examination of Crosby didn’t really poke holes into much of what the state asked him. They did however ask him about Alex in the months after the murders, making the case that Alex was carrying around guns for protection, which he had not done before.
Court has finished and will resume Wednesday.
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