South Carolina legal scion Alex Murdaugh, who pleaded not guilty to the murder of his wife and son, claims his cousin did the slayings, according to a new court filing.
“Smith decidedly failed a polygraph when questioned if he murdered Maggie and Paul,” Murdaugh brass Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin wrote in a Friday motion. “The reason Smith failed the polygraph when asked if he murdered Maggie and Paul is because he in fact did commit these heinous crimes.”
Murdaugh entered his not guilty plea in July 2022, ahead of the trial, which is set to begin in January 2023.
“The evidence in this case is substantial, and it all points back to Alex Murdaugh,” deputy state attorney general Creighton Waters told the court at the time.
Harpootlian shot back and said: “Our response to that is he’s wrong. And that’s why a jury will sit in that jury box.”
Meanwhile, Smith’s attorney Aimee Zmroczek said he has an “ironclad” alibi for the time of the killings.
“Eddie Smith continues to be a victim of Alex Murdaugh and his deeds,” she said. “If you look at this case since the murders, there has been a desire on the part of Alex Murdaugh to insinuate Eddie Smith is somehow involved. This is a continuation of that.
Still, Smith does not have a clean record. He is charged with peddling drugs to Murdaugh, and helping him cash fraudulent checks. He also is accused of a badly executed scheme to kill Murdaugh so the lawyer’s surviving son could get his $10 million life insurance policy. Murdaugh stands accused of orchestrating the attempt on his own life but survived it, sustaining a nonfatal bullet wound to the head.
The complain filed Friday says that “Capt. [Bryan] Jones asked Smith if he shot Maggie or Paul, and he said no, repeatedly. Capt. Jones then told Smith the questions that would be asked during the polygraph examination, and, after more small talk, began the examination. Smith failed.”
Defense lawyers said in the motion that the South Carolina Attorney General’s office caved to public pressure when they indicted Murdaugh.
“The State assumed Alex guilty of the murders before reviewing any evidence but failed to find evidence supporting that assumption, despite an investigation lasting more than one year,” it claimed.
“Nevertheless, on July 14, 2022, the Attorney General caved to intense public interest in this case and indicted Alex with the murders.”
Murdaugh faces 30 years to life in prison without parole if convicted and could even potentially get a death sentence should prosecutors seek it. He is also charged with financial crimes, including stealing more than $8 million from clients and committing fraud.
His lawyers have previously blamed Murdaugh’s opiod addiction for fuelling his double life and illegal actions.