After witnessing first hand, the privilege that Paul received, Liz couldn’t help but report on the main takeaway from Paul’s arraignment hearing regarding the boat crash in Beaufort County.

If you listen to the audio below from Paul’s arraignment hearing, in the background you can hear Mandy typing her notes from the hearing. If you’re going to court and need some tips, check out Luna Shark contributor Beth Braden’s article “How to Take Notes in Court”.

In an effort to validate that Paul Murdaugh had previously received special treatment from law enforcement regarding underage alcohol consumption, Mandy drove to the Beaufort County Magistrate to locate a document about a previous charge of Paul’s.

Thanks to a brave Beaufort County Magistrate clerk, Mandy received the following document that started to unravel the Murdaugh web.

Another prime example of the privilege Paul received: his mugshot.

Paul did not have to wear a jumpsuit and have his photo taken in a poorly lit room with a height chart. Instead, his photo was taken at the courthouse, in the nicer clothes he wore for his hearing.

The Lawyers

We were introduced to three other lawyers who were entangled in Alex Murdaugh’s web in Chapter 7. Dick Harpootlian, Jim Griffin and Cory Fleming.

Dick Harpootlian

Richard “Dick” Harpootlian has served as a South Carolina State Senator since 2018 and is also an attorney at Harpootlian Attorneys at Law in Columbia, South Carolina. 

Harpootlian, a former prosecutor, serves as a defense attorney for Alex Murdaugh and served on his defense team during the six week murder trial. He also represented Paul Murdaugh following the boat crash that killed Mallory Beach. 

Often referred to as “Team Murdaugh,” Harpootlian and Alex’s defense team have recently accused Clerk of Court Becky Hill of jury tampering during the murder trial and have requested a retrial. 

Harpootlian has also lead the charge to have Judge Clifton Newman removed from presiding on any of Alex Murdaugh’s upcoming criminal cases, including the November 27 trial regarding theft from the Satterfield family.

Jim Griffin

Jim Griffin is a criminal defense attorney in South Carolina who serves as one of Alex Murdaugh’s defense attorneys. 

Griffin also represented Paul Murdaugh following the BUI charge for the boat crash that killed Mallory Beach. 

Often referred to as “Team Murdaugh,” Griffin and Alex’s defense team have recently accused Clerk of Court Becky Hill of jury tampering during the murder trial and have requested a retrial. 

Griffin was in court on Nov. 28 alongside law partner Dick Harpootlian as Judge Clifton Newman approved Alex’s plea agreement. 

The agreement sentenced Murdaugh to 27 years in state prison for his financial crimes. 

Griffin is also the host of his own podcast, which discusses the media’s role in finding people guilty in court.

Cory Fleming

Cory Fleming is a longtime friend of Alex Murdaugh and former attorney. Prior to his suspension in Oct. 2021, Fleming was part of the private law practice Moss, Kuhn, and Fleming since 1996. 

In Aug. 2023, Fleming was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for his involvement in Alex Murdaugh’s financial crimes. He also faced presiding Judge Newman and pleaded guilty to all 23 state financial crimes. 

After admitting to stealing an estimated $4.3 million from the Satterfield family and $1 million from the Pinckneys, he was sentenced to 20 years in state prison. 

Since Fleming’s first 10 year sentence is to be served concurrently with his federal sentence, he will spend an estimated 10 years total in state prison directly following the end of the federal sentence. 

Fleming is currently serving his federal sentence at the low security facility of FCI Jesup in Jesup, Georgia.

Behind the Book with Co-Author Carolyn Murnick

“This is the first courtroom scene in the book and Mandy I spent a lot of time talking about how to make this section as visceral as possible. Courtrooms can be hushed, stilted environments, but there’s still a lot of drama going on if you know where to look. Mandy had notes from the day that we drew upon as well as a recording of the proceedings. I also drew upon my experiences attending court appearances for my childhood best friend’s killer while reporting my own memoir. I knew what it was like to see someone for the first time in person that you have been thinking about and writing about for months, as Mandy had been for the Murdaughs. I could imagine the nerves and anticipation Mandy felt as I experienced similar emotions. This chapter also introduces the reader to Dick and Jim, who are obviously important characters to the saga as a whole.”

Carolyn Murnick

Stay tuned for profiles on key players in this chapter and more coming soon!

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