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Murdaugh trial: Witnesses detail alleged financial crimes

(NewsNation) — Explosive allegations of years of Alex Murdaugh’s financial swindling from his former law firm and his clients came to a head as his murder trial reached Day Seven on Thursday.

Judge Clifton Newman heard from witnesses outside the presence of the jury to decide whether they can give evidence in the case.

His longtime friend and the firm’s Chief Financial Officer Jeanne Seckinger bluntly outlined evidence the firm found of Murdaugh’s alleged scheme dating back to 2011.

Seckinger testified that Murdaugh sometimes kept entire fees required by rules to be shared with the firm.

“Ya’ll had to pay back $750,000?” prosecutors asked.

“We did,” Seckinger said.

“That Alex spent?” prosecutors asked.

“He did,” Seckinger said.

“Of client money?” prosecutors asked.

“We did. He stole it,” Seckinger said.

Prosecutors said it all came to a crescendo on June 7, 2021, the day of the murders, when Seckinger confronted him that morning about the nearly $800,000 that was missing.

“At that point, I told him that I had reason to believe that he had received the funds himself and that I needed proof that he had not,” Seckinger testified.

“Received those fees himself. And I needed proof that they were not,” prosecutors reiterated.

“Yes,” Seckinger said.

“And what did he tell you?” prosecutors asked.

“He told me again that he assured me that the money was there,” Seckinger said.

Seckinger also testified that during their conversation, Murdaugh got a call telling him his father’s cancer was terminal, which stopped her inquiry in the moment.

Murdaugh’s lawyers said prosecutors are trying to smear Murdaugh with bad behavior not related to the killings to bolster their weak case.

But the jury has yet to hear the testimony, as the defense is arguing that Murdaugh’s financial history should not be admissible in court.

Prosecutors said the testimony speaks to Murdaugh’s state of mind when hours later he allegedly killed his wife Maggie and son Paul.

According to prosecutors, Murdaugh planned the killings to gain sympathy and buy time so he could find a way to cover up the missing money, as he had numerous times before in the past decade or so.

Along with the two murder charges, Murdaugh faces about 100 more counts with most of the charges coming before his murder indictment in July 2022.

The accusations range from money laundering, to stealing millions from clients and the family law firm, tax evasion and trying to get a man to fatally shoot him so his surviving son could collect a $10 million life insurance policy.

He faces 30 years to life in prison if convicted of murder.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.