While more cases of Alex Murdaugh’s manipulation and thievery from his clients multiplied, one story stood out to many as the most disturbing: the alleged defrauding of the Pinckney family.

Hakeem Pinckney’s hearing started deteriorating at a young age, but he never complained. In fact, he won a national championship in football when he was a senior at the SC School for the Deaf and Blind. 

But when he was 19, he was in a horrific crash with three other family members that forever changed his life. For Hakeem, the injuries would leave him a quadriplegic dependent on a ventilator.

In 2010, Alex Murdaugh, Corey Fleming and Palmetto State Bank’s CEO Russell Lafitte began representing passengers of the vehicle accident, including Hakeem who was paralyzed but aware. Despite the injuries, he persevered. His mother Pamela told us that he was improving before he died suddenly in 2011. 

10 years later, Pamela learned that Murdaugh allegedly stole insurance money from the Pinckney family after the accident, and again from Hakeem’s wrongful death settlement against his care facility after his ventilator was mysteriously “unplugged.”

Early in 2022, attorney Justin Bamberg joined the fight for sunlight against Alex Murdaugh and the good ole boys. While Alex was representing Hakeem, he even using the below video as marketing. Hakeem deserved more than his horrific death and being a victim of Alex Murdaugh.

Not only did Justin begin to represent the Pinckney family but many of Murdaugh’s other victims.

Behind the Book

“Breaking news doesn’t care that you’re on a boat with your parents and your fiance. Breaking news happens when you least expect it, even if you’re trained to always expect it. The roadside shooting chapter is a perfect example of this phenomenon, and it has echoes of the Puerto Rico engagement trip chapter: in the blink of an eye, drama and chaos can find you in the midst of an otherwise peaceful time. Mandy showed me pictures of her boat ride that day, and we spent time talking through the before and after of her time on the water and how she had to rapidly shift gears into crisis reporting mode. I love that this chapter showcases Mandy’s talents as a resourceful and scrappy reporter, and it also shows the stresses she was dealing with from predatory producers trying to get a piece of her podcast action. The cannibalistic, true crime industrial complex is a big theme of the book, and this chapter begins to show the dark energy that so many unscrupulous people and groups bring to crimes as they start to gain a bigger profile. This chapter also details one of the most painful, public humiliations of Mandy’s investigation: when Dick Harpootlian was caught on a hot mic in court making a dumb, sexist joke about Mandy. We knew this anecdote was pivotal in Mandy’s journey, and it wasn’t easy for her to revisit the time. But we also knew so many women would see themselves in that moment—an established man trying to put a woman he saw as threatening in her place. It was outrageous for me to learn about, and so maddening to write these scenes, but we both knew they were so important to include.” – Carolyn Murnick

Stay tuned for additional documents and videos corresponding to Chapter 16.

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