Alex Murdaugh 'Attempted to Shift the Blame' From His Son Paul Murdaugh Following 2019 Boat Crash: New Lawsuit
The prominent South Carolina lawyer has since been released from jail on $20,000 bond. He had previously turned himself in after he allegedly orchestrated his own shooting on September 4 for a $10 million life insurance payout.
South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh, who allegedly attempted to stage his own death for a $10 million insurance payout earlier this month and has since been released from jail on charges relating to the alleged set-up, is under new scrutiny for his possible role in the 2019 boat crash involving his son Paul Murdaugh that ended with the death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach.
Connor Cook was a passenger on the boat, and according to a lawsuit filed Monday on his behalf, Cook is now alleging that Alex Murdaugh attempted to blame Cook for the crash instead of his son Paul, who had been facing felony charges in connection to the boating accident at the time he and his mother Maggie were murdered in a double-homicide in front of their Colleton County hunting lodge.
“Murdaugh … negligently or intentionally attempted to shift the blame for the boat accident, causing the intentional and/or reckless infliction of severe emotional distress,” the lawsuit alleged, according to the Daily Beast. “The actions of [Murdaugh] in attempting to steer the criminal investigation away from Paul Murdaugh and towards Plaintiff Cook and the methods used, proximately caused Plaintiff Cook severe emotional distress, especially given the Murdaugh family’s significant connections with prosecutors, law enforcement, and judges.”
Paul had been driving the boat containing five additional underaged friends in the early hours of Feb. 24 2019, despite having been “too drunk to drive,” another passenger in the boat said in a deposition, Island Packet reported.
The boat crashed after several minutes of erratic driving, passengers said in sworn statements, and Beach was thrown from the boat. Her body was later found five miles from the crash site by divers after days of searching.
Immediately following the crash, some of the teen passengers on the boat either claimed they didn’t know who was driving or told investigating officers that Cook was the one at the helm, according to sworn statements shared by Island Packet.
Cook claims he was told by the elder Murdaugh not to speak with officers at all, and that Murdaugh attempted to “control the narrative” through a “whisper campaign” that meant to misdirect law enforcement, according to the lawsuit.
The new lawsuit continues on to claim that Murdaugh was negligent in recommending Cook hire an attorney that happened to be Murdaugh’s former college roommate and best friend to represent him in connection with the crash.
Nurses at the hospital following the crash claimed the elder Murdaugh smelled of alcohol and kept trying to go into the rooms of the teen passengers despite having been told not to, according to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.
In addition to suing the elder Murdaugh for negligent entrustment, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, he is also suing the convenience store chain and the employee that allegedly sold the younger Murdaugh alcohol for negligence and dram shop liability, Island Packet reported.
The new lawsuit comes as Murdaugh’s alleged assailant in the Labor Day Weekend shooting, 61-year-old Curtis Edward, reportedly claims he was deceived into shooting Murdaugh in the head.
“I get a call from Alex that Saturday afternoon to come to where he was and I thought it was maybe to fix something,” Edward, who also goes by Curtis Smith, told the New York Post. “I had no idea what he wanted, I just went over there.”
Edward, a distant cousin of Murdaugh’s, said he arrived to meet Murdaugh on Old Salkehatchie Road. He noticed Murdaugh holding a gun as if he were about to shoot himself, then attempted to wrestle it out of his hands before the gun went off, he claimed in the interview that occurred just a day after he was released from jail.
He told the Post he was unsure as to whether the bullet actually hit Murdaugh’s head. Murdaugh had been admitted to the hospital after the shooting, and his lawyer claimed he lost vision when the bullet entered and exited his head, but when Murdaugh appeared in court last Friday, he didn't wear any bandages over his head, nor were there any visible marks.
Edward was charged with assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud, and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud. He was released on $20,000 bail.
Murdaugh was charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report in the case. He was released on a personal recognizance bond of $20,000 and his lawyer said he was going to an out-of-state rehab for his opioid addiction.
Murdaugh claimed his drug addiction stemmed from the double-murder of his wife and son, his lawyer said. Authorities have not named a suspect in their murder, but Murdaugh claims he personally identified a possible suspect, his lawyer said.
Edward was also charged with distribution of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana, but has denied all those charges. He also denied that he was a drug dealer or a drug user, the Post said.
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