Alex Murdaugh, the suspended South Carolina lawyer accused of an astonishing array of criminal activity, is facing yet more charges, including drug trafficking.
The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office announced Tuesday that Murdaugh, 63, and Curtis Smith, 62, had been indicted on two counts of criminal conspiracy including a narcotics count related to oxycodone. Smith, a distant cousin and alleged co-conspirator in Murdaugh’s infamously botched assisted-suicide plot last September, is also facing money laundering, forgery, and additional drug trafficking charges.
The indictment alleges that Murdaugh and Smith used hundreds of illegal transactions “to facilitate the acquisition and distribution of illegally obtained narcotics” in several counties in South Carolina. It took place between Oct. 7, 2013, and Sept. 7, 2021, when the pair and “other persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury,” allegedly conspired to purchase and distribute oxycodone, the indictment says.
Murdaugh and Smith also allegedly conspired to commit financial crimes together during the same period after Murdaugh allegedly provided Smith with over 400 checks totaling $2,413,754.
“Murdaugh drew the checks on accounts under his control at multiple banks, and made the checks payable to various versions of Smith’s name, as well as to close associates of Smith,” the indictment states. “In some instances, Smith forged the endorsement of his close associates without their knowledge or consent, then endorsed the checks himself. In any case, Smith converted the checks into cash or deposits. Murdaugh and Smith structured many of these transactions and used them to facilitate the acquisition and distribution of illegally obtained narcotics.”
Prosecutors previously alleged Murdaugh conspired with Smith to orchestrate his own suicide last Labor Day in a failed bid to secure a $10 million insurance payout for his son, Buster. It came just months after Murdaugh’s wife, Margaret, and his other son, Paul, were found murdered outside their sprawling estate.
Murdaugh called police on Sept. 4, 2021, to say he’d been shot in the head by an unknown truck driver on a country road. But days later, he allegedly admitted to police that Smith shot him at his behest in an attempt to stage his own murder for the insurance payout. He was soon after whisked away to rehab for an opioid addiction.
Smith has repeatedly rejected Murdaugh’s version of events and claimed he was “set up” to take the fall. Smith has also denied assertions by Murdaugh’s lawyers that he was, at least at one time, the suspended lawyer’s drug dealer.
Since his arrest over the botched suicide, Murdaugh has faced 16 state grand-jury indictments, including 81 counts of financial crimes for allegedly stealing more than $8 million from clients and his former law firm.
In the various indictments, prosecutors allege that Murdaugh funneled funds into a fake account he created in order to enrich himself. Among the allegations of fraud is a claim that Murdaugh diverted millions of dollars to a secret bank account from a wrongful-death settlement meant for the sons of his former housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield. Murdaugh is also facing a lawsuit in connection with the Satterfield settlement.
After Satterfield died in a 2018 fall on the Murdaugh property, the disgraced lawyer allegedly coordinated with her family “to sue himself in order to seek an insurance settlement.” Satterfield’s two sons, however, insist they did not receive a dime of the $4.3 million payout.
Murdaugh has been implicated in other probes as well, including allegations he conspired to influence the 2019 investigation into a drunken boat crash involving his late son Paul that killed a teenage girl.
If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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