COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Supreme Court on Thursday announced that it will bypass the normal disciplinary process of a disbarment hearing in the case against disgraced Hampton County attorney Alex Murdaugh due to his admissions of what the Court described as “egregious ethical misconduct.”
Murdaugh was suspended from practicing law on September 7, 2021, after information came to light about his possible involvement in stealing funds from clients.
Since then, Murdaugh has admitted to various illegal activities — including orchestrating his own botched suicide attempt to claim life insurance money and stealing millions of dollars from clients — and has been accused of stealing millions more from clients in schemes dating back decades.
Murdaugh has been indicted by a State Grand Jury on over 70 counts.
In normal disciplinary proceedings, the South Carolina Supreme Court goes through a lengthy process of investigating, pleading, limited discovery, and hearings. However, Murdaugh’s confession in at least one of the cases against him “amounts to clear and convincing evidence of dishonesty in violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct.”
The level of Murdaugh’s misconduct “subjects him to the most significant sanction available — disbarment,” according to the South Carolina Supreme Court.
As such, the Court determined that “there is no need to expend additional resource to proceed through the normal disciplinary process.” Instead, the Court said that it may “act under the Court’s constitutional authority to regulate the practice of law in South Carolina and may remove an unfit lawyer from the practice of law to ensure the public, and the administration of justice, are protected.”
A hearing will be held June 22 to give Murdaugh the opportunity to plead his case before the Court makes a final determination.