Convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh has lost some of his prison privileges after leaking information to a Fox Nation documentary without permission.
Officials with the South Carolina Corrections Department said Wednesday that Murdaugh's attorney recorded Jim Griffin reading aloud entries from the journal he kept during his double murder trial during a June 10 phone call at the prison.
Mr Griffin then turned the footage over to the producers working on the new Fox Nation documentary about his high profile case, entitled The Fall of the House of Murdaugh, which was released today.
Prison policy prohibits inmates from speaking to the media without permission because the agency “believes that crime victims should not see or hear the person who victimized them or their family members on the news,” the agency said State Prisons spokeswoman Chrysti Shain in a statement.
The media interview violation, as well as another violation for using another inmate's password to make a phone call, are a matter of prison discipline and not a crime, Ms Shain said.
As a result, the disgraced barrister had his phone privileges revoked and his prison tablet computer confiscated.
Additionally, Murdaugh was unable to shop at the prison canteen for a month.
He now has to get permission from prison officials to get another tablet that he can use to make monitored phone calls, watch approved conversations, read books or take video classes, the prison spokesman said.
Mr. Griffin has also been warned by prison officials that if he knowingly or unknowingly helps Murdaugh break the rules again, he could lose his ability to speak to his client.
Telephone conversations between lawyers and prisoners are not recorded or checked as their conversations are considered confidential.
But prison officials said they began investigating Murdaugh after a warden screening other phone calls heard Murdaugh's voice on a call made through another inmate's account.
Murdaugh claimed his phone password didn't work. He also informed prison investigators about the recorded diary entries, according to prison records.
Murdaugh's use of a prison tablet previously made headlines when selfie images he took with the device were received as part of a request for information from FITS News.
In many pictures, the convicted family killer was topless.
South Carolina prison officials later clarified that when an inmate uses their individually assigned tablet, the photos are taken automatically as part of inmate monitoring.
Now Murdaugh is indefinitely banned from using his tablet due to his unauthorized communications with the documentarians – in what might be called his first media interview since his conviction.
His eldest – and now only surviving – son, Buster Murdaugh, also broke his silence and spoke up in his first TV interview on the three-part series.
In the interview, Buster insisted he was still convinced his father was innocent of the murders of his mother and brother – but admitted he may be a psychopath.
Maggie and Paul were found shot to death on June 7, 2021 on the family's 1,700-acre Moselle property. Alex Murdaugh had called 911 and claimed to have found their bodies.
During his high-profile murder trial, jurors heard Paul being shot twice with a 12-caliber shotgun while standing in the feeding room of the kennels on the wealthy family's 1,700-acre Moselle estate. The second shot to his head almost completely ejected his brain.
After Murdaugh killed Paul, prosecutors say Murdaugh grabbed a .300 Blackout semi-automatic rifle and opened fire on Maggie as she tried to flee from her husband.
Following the dramatic six-week trial in which Murdaugh admitted to lying about his alibi on the night of the murder, the disgraced lawyer was convicted of the brutal murders in March.
When Buster was asked in the documentary if he ever believed it was possible that his father could have killed loved ones, he insisted he said no.
“No, because I think I have a very unique perspective that no one else in this courtroom has ever had. And I know the love I've experienced,” he said.
The 29-year-old said he felt there were still many questions about the killings that needed to be answered.
“My biggest concern is to make people understand that there are always two sides to a story. Now they can choose who they want to believe,” he said.
“But I think there's still a lot to be clarified about what happened on June 7.”
He said prosecutors presented a “crappy motive” and that the case was not “fair.”
“I don't think it was fair,” he said. “I was there for six weeks, studying it, and I think it was a mess from the start.
“And I think unfortunately a lot of the jury thought that way before they had to deliberate. It was preordained in their minds before they ever heard a shred of evidence presented in this room.”
Now that his father is behind bars, he said he fears the real killer is still at large.
“I guess I'm trying to play it safe, but yeah, when I go to bed at night I'm scared there's someone else out there,” Buster added.
During the high-profile murder trial, Buster stood by his father and attended the court hearings every day with his family members.
Buster also testified in his father's defense that Murdaugh was “devastated” and “heartbroken” after the deaths of his mother and brother.
But while Buster still maintains his father's innocence, he didn't deny that his father might be a psychopath.
“I'm not ready to sit here and say it affects him as a whole, but I certainly think there are traits where you look at the manipulation, the lies and the execution of it, and I think that is a fair assessment,” he said.
Murdaugh, 55, was sentenced to life in prison for the murders and is serving his time at the maximum-security McCormick Correctional Institution in South Carolina.
He also faces a slew of financial fraud charges for stealing millions of dollars from his law firms and the family of his late housekeeper.
He is expected to plead guilty to the federal charges on Sept. 21 — the first time he has pleaded guilty to a felony in court.
Murdaugh also faces about 100 financial charges in state court, as well as charges over a botched hitman scheme in which he claims he paid an accomplice to shoot him.
Murdaugh's high-profile conviction also highlighted several other mysterious deaths linked to South Carolina's legal dynasty.
Following the murders of Maggie and Paul, investigations into the 2018 death of Murdaugh's longtime housekeeper Gloria Satterfield and the 2015 murder of gay teenager Stephen Smith have been reopened.
Meanwhile, Paul was also awaiting trial in the 2019 Mallory Beach boat accident at the time of his murder.
The Associated Press contributed to this report