RICHLAND, S.C. (WCBD) — More than 100 phone recordings obtained by News 2 via the Freedom of Information Act detail disgraced Hampton County attorney Alex Murdaugh’s first five months of incarceration.
Murdaugh has been in jail since October after the June 2021 murders of his wife and youngest son sparked an investigation that put the spotlight on the family and unearthed his decades-long drug addiction and pattern of alleged financial crimes.
Murdaugh would later admit to orchestrating his own failed suicide attempt disguised as a drive-by shooting in order to collect life insurance money for his only living son, Buster.
The calls are mostly between Murdaugh and his family members: his brothers, their wives, and Buster. Conversations run the gamut, with discussions ranging from how Murdaugh is doing in jail, to his favorite books, to his drug problem, to moving assets, to holiday celebrations, to Gamecock football.
Throughout the calls, Murdaugh is careful to note that the conversations are being recorded and often refers to information he has conveyed through letters to avoid oversharing details.
“Every one of these phone calls is recorded, and you know … they’re listening to them,” Murdaugh says. When the woman he’s speaking to says she knows that the calls are recorded but that she didn’t know anyone cared to listen, Murdaugh responded “I promise you they’re listening to mine.”
While he is careful not to discuss too much about his alleged wrongdoings, Murdaugh does discuss his botched suicide attempt and drug addiction. When asked if he thought he was dead after a bullet grazed his head, he gave a resounding no.
“This wasn’t like ‘ok things go dark and I see the light and I’m going to the light.’ It was dark and I couldn’t see sh**.”
In another call, Murdaugh speaks to his brother and son while they are on a family trip to the West Coast. He describes the jail food as almost unbearable, but says he is holding up as well as he can. He then moves on to discussing selling assets before court-appointed receivers freeze them.
Despite the mounting legal case against him, Murdaugh’s calls often had an upbeat feeling. He asked frequently for someone to make sure flowers were put out at Margaret and Paul’s graves and chatted with his nieces and nephews about parades and upcoming holidays.
Murdaugh appears to be up-to-date with the latest in the cases against him based on the conversations in the 121 calls obtained by News 2. However those calls only range from October to March. Since then, Murdaugh has both admitted to and been indicted on various additional charges.
Meanwhile, Alex Murdaugh has waived his right to a hearing in the case to decide whether he will maintain his license to practice law in South Carolina. A hearing before the state supreme court had been scheduled for Wednesday.
The court had previously expedited the hearing, noting that standard practices for investigating evidence for disbarment were not necessary since Murdaugh had admitted to multiple financial crimes. The court will now make a decision on disbarment.