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South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh accused of misusing his law firm's funds

Murdaugh, whose wife and son were shot in unsolved killings in June, had said he was taking time off "after a long battle that has been exacerbated by these murders."
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South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh, whose family has faced months of public scrutiny after his wife and son were slain in unsolved shootings in June, quit his job at a private law firm on Friday — a day before he called 911 to say he had been shot in a roadside attack.

On Monday, Murdaugh, 53, said in a vague statement that he had resigned to enter rehab and that he "made a lot of decisions that I truly regret." Hours later, the law firm revealed that he had allegedly "misappropriated funds."

"This is disappointing news for all of us," the law firm, Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick, said in a statement. "Rest assured that our firm will deal with this in a straightforward manner. There's no place in our firm for such behavior."

The firm, which was founded by Murdaugh's great-grandfather, said that a forensic accounting firm will conduct an internal investigation and that it has notified law enforcement and the South Carolina Bar. It's unclear how much money Murdaugh is accused of taking and how it was used, and the law firm declined further comment.

The latest events add yet another twist to an already puzzling case and is certain to feed the questions swirling around the mysterious circumstances of the fatal shootings of Murdaugh's wife, Margaret, 52, and their son, Paul, 22.

A spokesperson for the family said Tuesday that Murdaugh had no further comment regarding the law firm's allegation.

His statement Monday was his first since he was shot along a rural road in Hampton County on Saturday.

"The murders of my wife and son have caused an incredibly difficult time in my life," he said.

"I have made a lot of decisions that I truly regret," he said without elaborating, adding that he decided he needs to go to rehab "after a long battle that has been exacerbated by these murders."

"I am immensely sorry to everyone I've hurt including my family, friends and colleagues," he said. "I ask for prayers as I rehabilitate myself and my relationships."

Margaret and Paul Murdaugh's bodies were found June 7 near dog kennels on the family's hunting property in Colleton County, west of Charleston. They had been shot to death.

IMAGE: Paul Murdaugh and his mother, Margaret 'Maggie' Murdaugh.
Paul Murdaugh and his mother, Margaret "Maggie" Murdaugh.via Facebook

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division has released few details, saying it does not want to compromise the investigation. The agency could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday about the allegation lodged by Murdaugh's former law firm.

Murdaugh's father, a grandfather and a great-grandfather all held the top prosecutor's position in the state's 14th Circuit, which covers a region of South Carolina known as the Lowcountry, and wielded power in the same role for more than eight decades. Murdaugh was a part-time prosecutor in the office while also working for his great-grandfather's private law firm.

Murdaugh dialed 911 Saturday afternoon and said he had been shot while he was changing a flat tire, said Tommy Crosby, a spokesman for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

Murdaugh was flown to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia, for treatment of a non-life-threatening "superficial" head wound, Crosby said.

Investigators have not indicated a possible motive.

Jim Griffin, a family friend and attorney for Murdaugh, said Saturday that a pickup truck passed Murdaugh while he was changing his tire. The truck turned around, and someone inside opened fire, Griffin said.

A family spokesperson said Murdaugh was expected to make a full recovery.

The family's powerful legal connections were in the spotlight after Paul Murdaugh was indicted in a boat crash in 2019 that left one of its young passengers dead, a 19-year-old woman. A police report said the teens were "grossly intoxicated."

Local reports after the boat crash said that the Murdaugh family did not initially cooperate with law enforcement agencies' investigation and that officers never gave Paul Murdaugh, who was believed to have been driving the boat, an alcohol breath test, according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, which led the investigation.

Murdaugh pleaded not guilty to three felony counts of boating under the influence. He had been out on a personal recognizance bond of $50,000 at the time of his death. As a matter of protocol, the charges were dropped last month.

In addition, Alex Murdaugh's father, family patriarch Randolph Murdaugh III, died at 81 just days after Paul and Margaret Murdaugh were killed.

Murdaugh announced a $100,000 reward after the deaths of his wife and their son.

He was the one who discovered their bodies and called 911. He told the dispatcher, "It's bad," and "Nobody's breathing."