The attorneys for disgraced South Carolina legal scion Alex Murdaugh claimed in new court documents that the results of a lie-detector test point to a different suspect in the killings of his wife and son, claiming state prosecutors are intentionally suppressing evidence in the double murder case.
A motion to compel filed on Friday by Columbia lawyers Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin alleges state investigators turned a “blind eye” to evidence linking Curtis “Fast Eddie” Smith to the homicides of Maggie Murdaugh and 22-year-old son, Paul Murdaugh, who were both found shot to death by different firearms near dog kennels on the family’s sprawling Colleton County estate on June 7, 2021.
Smith, a former legal client and distant cousin of Murdaugh, was hooked up to a polygraph machine and questioned by a South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) agent in May. He answered “no” when asked if he shot Maggie, shot Paul and whether he was present during the killings, but the responses to those three questions showed “indicative of attempted deception,” the motion says.
“I know I was nowhere near the place where Maggie and Paul got killed at,” Smith told the agent, according to The Post and Courier, maintaining that he had three friends over to his home that night. “I wasn’t there, there ain’t no way, shape or form nobody can put me there when I was not there.”
ALEX MURDAUGH BACK IN COURT AFTER SUBPOENAING SOUTH CAROLINA AGENTS FOR TESTIMONY ON MURDERS OF WIFE, SON
During the lie-detector test, Smith also offered his own theory as to who killed Maggie and Paul. He said he believed Paul caught his mother having an affair with an unnamed groundskeeper and shot her with a rifle. But the groundskeeper might have quickly retrieved a shotgun from his truck and shot Paul.
Following a 13-month investigation, Alex Murdaugh was indicted in July on two counts of murder. He pleaded not guilty. Part of a long spiraling fall from grace, Murdaugh already was facing more than 80 charges for allegedly embezzling nearly $8.5 million from family, friends and former legal clients.
Harpootlian and Griffin said in the motion Friday that the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office “caved to public interest in this case” in indicting Murdaugh on a “weak circumstantial case.”
“Smith decidedly failed a polygraph when questioned if he murdered Maggie and Paul,” Murdaugh’s lawyers wrote. “Nevertheless, the Attorney General has represented that the State intends to present Smith as a cooperating witness against Alex in the upcoming murder trial.”
State prosecutors are expected to file a response to the motion on Monday.
“To date, we have provided over three-quarters of a terabyte of information to the defense,” Attorney General’s Office spokesman Robert Kittle said in a statement Friday night, according to WIS-TV. “No Brady material will be withheld and, as always, we will address these issues in our pleadings and in the courtroom and will not try this case outside the courtroom.”
“Eddie continues to be a pawn for Alex Murdaugh,” Smith’s lawyer, Amiee Zmroczek, said. “If SLED had any indication, he was involved in the murders he would have been charged. There’s a reason that polygraphs are not admissible in court because they’re not accurate.”
Once a powerful attorney, Murdaugh had been a partner at the Hampton personal injury law firm founded by his great-grandfather more than a century ago and worked as a volunteer prosecutor for the Low Country solicitor’s office his family wielded control over for generations.
Authorities say Murdaugh, after being confronted by other partners at the firm for allegedly stealing millions, arranged for Smith to shoot and kill him on the side of a rural road over the 2021 Labor Day weekend so that Murdaugh’s surviving son, Buster Murdaugh, would be able to collect on a $10 million life insurance policy.
But Smith allegedly botched the suicide-for-hire plot, and Murdaugh survived.
In June, a South Carolina state grand jury indicted Smith and Murdaugh in an alleged money laundering and drug trafficking ring related to the distribution of oxycodone and methamphetamine.
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Smith reportedly had his bond revoked in August and remains in protective custody. Last week, a trial date for the double murder case was set for January 2023 in Colleton County.