Alex Murdaugh’s high-powered defense lawyers said they each made a meager $40,000 in profit off the marathon six-week double murder trial, according to a court filing.
But the legal team, which doesn’t live locally, certainly didn’t let the paltry pay hamper their lifestyle.
They rented a luxury wedding venue that boasted five stunning homes for an eye-popping $20,000 a week and brought their own private chef.
Last week, South Carolina Judge Daniel Hall shot down a request from Murdaugh’s lawyers asking for access to their client’s retirement funds to pay for his appeal.
Hall didn’t explain his decision in his written ruling.
Attorneys Jim Griffin and Dick Harpootlian wrote in the motion that they earned just $81,277.50 from the trial in which Murdaugh was found guilty of fatally shooting his wife and son.
Griffin and Harpootlian split the profits, meaning each was paid $40,638.75 for the lengthy proceeding that brought them international publicity but very little profit. The convicted killer was sentenced in March to two life terms.
The lawyers asked the judge to disburse $160,000 from the receivership, which is controlling the assets of Murdaugh’s estate in the midst of dozens of lawsuits stemming from his alleged theft of nearly $9 million and a deadly boat crash.
The money in the receivership will ultimately be divvied up among Murdaugh’s victims.
The motion offered a glimpse into the costs of the riveting Colleton County trial that was livestreamed nationwide.
The judge had initially ordered the receivership to release $600,000 from Murdaugh’s retirement fund to pay for the trial.
About $518,000 of this sum was spent on unspecified expenses, with the remainder going to Griffin and Harpootlian, who is a Democratic state senator in South Carolina.
They wrote that their payment was “grossly insufficient to cover the actual attorneys’ fees incurred preparing for and defending Murdaugh.”
A team of four full-time lawyers and two paralegals in addition to off-site attorneys and support staff labored on the case.
A conservative estimate of the actual attorneys’ fees for the trial alone is $700,000, the filing says. This sum does not include expenses or pretrial preparation.
The trial, held in Walterboro, had limited options for accommodation. State prosecutors, who were also not local, stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites, whose rooms overlook I-95 or a parking lot.
Surging demand sent the middling hotel’s nightly rate to $300 during the trial.
Murdaugh is currently in protective custody serving out his sentence at the McCormick Correctional Institution.
He has denied that he murdered his wife, Maggie, 52, and his 22-year-old son, Paul, June 7, 2021, on the family’s hunting estate known as Moselle.
Griffin declined to comment.