Alex Murdaugh’s former law firm has been named “Business of the Year” just months after the convicted killer pleaded guilty to stealing millions of dollars from clients.
The Hampton County Chamber of Commerce bestowed the honour to the South Carolina firm, now known as Parker Law Group, during their annual awards dinner last week.
Parker Law Firm was previously known as The Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick (PMPED) law firm before it changed its name in 2022 after Murdaugh was charged with the June 2021 murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul.
The disgraced legal scion was later disbarred by the South Carolina Supreme Court and in 2023, pleaded guilty to a slew of financial crimes.
On Friday, Murdaugh’s brother Randy Murdaugh expressed his thanks for the honour in a post on the firm’s social media accounts.
“At Parker Law Group we love Hampton, we are proud to be here in Hampton,” Mr Murdaugh wrote. “We hope that the Chamber, and each of you know, how much we appreciate the honor of receiving this award.”
While the firm is seeing a good start to 2024, Alex Murdaugh and his defence team hit another roadblock on Monday as Judge Jean Toal denied their request for a new trial over claims that Colleton County Clerk Becky Hill, who went on to write a book about the six-week double murder trial, had tampered with jurors.
The judge did acknowledge that Ms Hill had a conflict of interest but said that the “fleeting and foolish comments by a publicity-seeking clerk of court” were not sufficient to grant a new trial.
“I find that the clerk of court was not completely credible as a witness. Miss Hill was attracted by the siren call of celebrity,” Judge Toal said.
Judge Toal called the jurors to the stand one by one and questioned them about potential comments that may have tainted their verdict. Only one of the jurors, identified as juror Z by Judge Toal, said that Ms Hill’s remarks made it seem like Murdaugh was guilty.
Other jurors who were questioned denied hearing inappropriate remarks made by Ms Hill, or being influenced by her comments.
Ms Hill testified under oath she had taken some “poetic license”, but never told jurors that she thought Murdaugh was guilty. She also admitted that she made around $100,000 in book sales, and apologised for plagiarising reporting from a BBC reporter in her book.
“I’m very sorry and I have apologised,” she said.
Judge Toal’s ruling earlier this month had set a difficult standard for the defence to prove. She ruled Murdaugh’s attorneys had to prove that potential misconduct including alleged comments by Ms Hill warning jurors not to trust Murdaugh when he testified directly led jurors to change their minds to guilty.
Ms Hill has denied all of the allegations levelled against her in a September motion from Murdaugh’s legal team. In a sworn statement, the state branded the allegations as “a sweeping conspiratorial theory” and said that “not every inappropriate comment made by a member of court staff to a juror rises to the level of constitutional error”.
Ms Hill is now the subject of two investigations by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (Sled) – the same state agency that led the investigation into the murders of Murdaugh’s wife Maggie and son Paul.
But Murdaugh has remained adamant that he did not kill his younger son with a shotgun and his wife with a rifle since the moment he told deputies he found their bodies at their Colleton County home in 2021. He testified in his own defence.
He’s also serving 27 years after admitting he stole $12 million from his law firm and from settlements he gained for clients on wrongful death and serious injury lawsuits. Murdaugh promised not to appeal that sentence as part of his plea deal.