Murdaugh’s Lawyers Allege Government Manipulation of Polygraph Test


Lawyers for Alex Murdaugh said that an FBI agent performing a polygraph test that the government says the convicted killer failed asked strange questions and revealed that he had just examined the renowned Dutch killer of an Alabama teen, skewing the results.

The name-check of Joran van der Sloot in court documents Thursday is just the latest bizarre twist in the case of Murdaugh, a disbarred lawyer serving a life sentence for murder in the murders of his wife and child. Murdaugh vehemently denies killing them but admits that he stole millions from customers and his law practice as a result of a terrible heroin addiction.

The dispute over the polygraph is being litigated in two separate court files before Murdaugh is sentenced in federal court on Monday for the theft.

Prosecutors said in court papers filed Tuesday that their plea agreement to have Murdaugh serve any federal sentence concurrently with his state sentence should be revoked because the polygraph revealed Murdaugh was lying about where the more than $6 million he stole ended up and whether another attorney who has yet to be identified assisted him in stealing from clients and his law firm.

Murdaugh’s lawyers responded by presenting court documents from state prosecutors in his murder case who argued against the defense using polygraph results indicating that a Murdaugh buddy failed his test when asked if he was involved in Murdaugh’s wife and son’s deaths.

The FBI examiner made the Murdaugh results untrustworthy by asking Murdaugh whether he could keep a secret soon before the exam, then telling him he had just returned from Alabama, where he tested van der Sloot, who admitted to killing Natalee Holloway in Aruba in 2005, according to defense lawyers.

According to the defense, the examiner also told Murdaugh that he did not kill his wife and son and asked him a confused question regarding concealed assets.

“There are legitimate questions as to whether the Government deliberately manipulated the results to void the plea agreement and achieve the prosecutors’ stated desire to ‘ensure that he’s never a free man again,'” defense lawyers Jim Griffin and Dick Harpootlian wrote.

Murdaugh’s lawyers stated that they may have other objections to the polygraph, but they only learned of the prosecution’s allegations on Tuesday and did not have time to have their expert evaluate the results. They have asked the sentencing court on Monday to disregard the results.

Following Murdaugh’s brief, prosecutors submitted a pre-sentencing motion that did not address the defense’s allegations. The topic will most likely be addressed at Monday’s sentencing.

The pre-sentencing study suggests a 17 1/2 to almost 22-year jail term for Murdaugh on federal offenses.

Murdaugh, 55, is already serving life without parole in state prison after a jury convicted him of murder in the killings of his wife and younger son. He later pled guilty to stealing money from customers and his law practice in state court and was sentenced to 27 years in prison, which South Carolina prosecutors described as an insurance policy to keep him behind bars if his murder conviction was reversed.

The federal case was expected to provide even greater insurance, with Murdaugh consenting to a plea deal that allowed his federal term to run concurrently with his state imprisonment.
Prosecutors now want Murdaugh to face the harshest possible punishment because the plea deal was violated, and he should serve his federal sentence after any state sentences.

Murdaugh pleaded guilty to 22 offenses in federal court, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. Some have a 30-year maximum.

Prosecutors also seek to keep four statements provided by Murdaugh to the FBI confidential, including the polygraph.

Investigators believe Murdaugh is attempting to shield an attorney who assisted him in stealing money, and that his claim that more than $6 million of the stolen funds went to his drug habit is false. The United States Attorney’s Office warned that releasing the statements could jeopardize an ongoing investigation.

Murdaugh’s attorneys want the statements disclosed, with agents blacking out any information they don’t want the public to see while leaving the majority of the testimonies open so people can judge the charges for themselves.

According to state authorities, Murdaugh misappropriated more than $12 million from clients by diverting settlement funds to his accounts or stealing from his family law practice.

According to investigators, as Murdaugh’s financial machinations were about to be uncovered in June 2021, he decided to murder his wife and kid in the hopes of becoming a sympathetic figure and diverting attention away from the stolen money. Paul Murdaugh was shot multiple times with a shotgun, while Maggie Murdaugh was shot several times with a rifle outside their Colleton County home.

Murdaugh has categorically denied murdering them, even testifying in his defense against his lawyers’ advice. Federal prosecutors said Murdaugh appeared to be telling the truth about the roles banker Russell Laffitte and attorney and old college friend Cory Fleming played in assisting him with the theft.

Laffitte was convicted and sentenced to seven years in jail, while Fleming has been spending nearly four years after pleading guilty.

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