Alex Murdaugh loses phone access after giving FOX News documentary interview
The former multi-millionaire attorney, who is serving two life sentences for murder, had his phone and canteen privileges suspended for 30 days
By Ted Clifford
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Alex Murdaugh can’t stay out of trouble.
The former Hampton County attorney and convicted double murderer has had some of his prison privileges temporarily suspended after he used another inmate’s account information to make a phone call where he provided information that was “delivered to the news media for an interview,” according to a statement from the South Carolina Department of Corrections.
The former multimillionaire who recently pleaded guilty to federal charges of stealing millions from his clients has lost his telephone and canteen privileges for 30 days. He is currently serving two consecutive life sentences.
On June 10, Murdaugh read portions of a journal that he kept during his Colleton County trial for the murder of his wife, Maggie, and son Paul, to his attorney through a legal call, which prison officials say they did not record or monitor in order to protect attorney-client privilege.
His attorney, Jim Griffin, who represented Murdaugh at his murder trial, recorded Murdaugh reading the information and provided it to the producers of the upcoming Fox News documentary, “The Fall of the House of Murdaugh,” according to the Department of Corrections.
When prison officials learned of the interview on Aug. 8, they say that they suspended Murdaugh’s access to his phone and tablet. Inmates of the South Carolina Department of Corrections are not allowed to conduct interviews.
Dennis Patterson, assistant deputy director of operations for the Department of Corrections, also sent Griffin a letter warning him that his actions “intended or not, assisted Mr. Murdaugh in violating our policies and could jeopardize your telephonic communications with him in the future.”
“SCDC’s interview policy is rooted in victims’ rights and is longstanding. The department believes that victims of crime should not have to see or hear the person who victimized them or their family member on the news,” the department said in its statement.
Griffin declined to comment Wednesday evening “other than to say that I have the highest respect for Director (Bryan) Stirling and the job he is doing.”
But after Murdaugh lost access to his phone, he used another inmate’s PIN to make phone calls from the prison, which is prohibited by Department of Corrections policy. On the call, which was reviewed by the warden of the prison, Murdaugh could be heard telling someone that he was using another inmate’s number because his was not working, according to an incident report released by the department.
Murdaugh was found guilty of violating policy, but did not break any laws, corrections officials say.
Mudaugh still does not have use of his tablet. “Tablets are designed and secured for correctional use. They are considered a privilege. The department will determine when and if inmate Murdaugh will earn the opportunity to be issued a tablet again,” according to the statement.
(Staff writer John Monk contributed to this story.)
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