Attorney Jim Griffin, Fox Nation respond: Alex Murdaugh convicted of violating prison rules

The South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) officials disclosed that the notorious criminal had produced a documentary series on Murdaugh’s criminal narrative and his family. This revelation came after he was found guilty of breaching prison regulations, specifically engaging in media discussions while incarcerated, without the knowledge or authorization of the SCDC, on August 30th, just one day before Fox Nation aired.

According to the statement released by SCDC on August 30, inmate Murdaugh was found guilty of two disciplinary offenses within the prison system – “Misuse of Privileges” and “Unapproved Utilization of an Inmate’s Personal Identification Number” – during a disciplinary hearing held on August 28.

According to the statement, these allegations are in violation of SCDC’s prisoner policy. The accusations include utilizing a fellow prisoner’s personal identification number to initiate a phone call and disclosing information to be conveyed to the press for an interview.

The state prison intake photo of convicted murderer Richard "Alex" Murdaugh.

Murdaugh lost his tablet computer and privileges for 30 days as a result of his actions, and he also lost his canteen and telephone privileges indefinitely. These transgressions are not a violation of the law, but they could result in the loss of many privileges within the prison system, as they are punishable.

Murdaugh purportedly utilized the PIN number of a fellow prisoner to place a phone call, an act that is forbidden according to SCDC policy OP-22.14, subsequent to the revocation of his phone privileges. Following the discovery of the phone interview on Aug. 8, Murdaugh’s tablet and phone privileges were promptly withdrawn pending a thorough examination of the occurrences by the SCDC.

It has been widely reported that he is being held in state prison at McCormick, S.C., Awaiting court filings in federal court. Officially, Murdaugh is being detained in an undisclosed maximum security location.

Alex Murdaugh sentenced to life in prison after conviction in double murder trial during his sentencing at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro on Friday, March 3, 2023 after he was found guilty on all four counts. Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post and Courier/Pool

According to prison officials, the SCDC reported that Attorney Jim Griffin documented Murdaugh reciting the details and entries from the prisoner’s daily journal and shared it with the press. It should be noted that legal calls on the inmate phone system are not recorded or monitored due to attorney/client privilege. Murdaugh used a legal call to provide his attorney with information for a media interview.

On Friday, September 1, the docuseries “The Fall of the House of Murdaugh,” produced by Fox Nation, was released, following the announcement of Murdaugh’s charges. As per the release, Griffin provided Murdaugh’s recorded statements.

According to Fox News, the three-part, three-hour series “Murdaugh: The Exclusive Interviews” includes exclusive access to Alex Murdaugh’s defense team, featuring intimate footage from his time in prison, as well as never-before-seen behind-the-scenes footage from his trial and home movies. The series also includes exclusive interviews with Richard “Buster” Murdaugh, Jim Griffin, and Dick Harpootlian.

Murdaugh willfully and knowingly abused his privileges and conducted the interview for his personal gain. He admitted in his statement to Griffin that he provided Fox with the recorded interview, according to the South Carolina Department of Corrections.

The trial for the Murdaugh double homicide took place in Walterboro, where purportedly other interviews for this documentary series were conducted, as well as on Daufuskie Island at Griffin’s holiday residence.

Defense attorney Jim Griffin, left, talks with Alex Murdaugh during his double murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse on Friday, Feb. 17, 2023, in Walterboro, S.C. The 54-year-old attorney Murdaugh is standing trial on two counts of murder in the shootings of his wife and son at their Colleton County home and hunting lodge on June 7, 2021.

Griffin and Fox Nation issue statement regarding Alex Murdaugh’s prison charges

On August 30th, SCDC sent a letter to Griffin explaining the potential repercussions of his prohibited behavior and policy violation.

When contacted by The Guardian County Hampton on Thursday, I responded that I have the highest respect for Stirling and the job he is doing in the Department, and I am not commenting on the action taken.

Bryan P. Stirling serves as the director of the Department of Corrections in South Carolina.

Attorneys Murdaugh’s declined to comment on the matter, deferring to a spokesperson for Fox Nation. Alexandra Coscia did confirm on Thursday that the docuseries went live.

Nevertheless, it remains uncertain whether this decision was connected to the prison infractions. The scheduled date of release was advanced to August 31st, although the documentary series was initially planned to be launched in mid-September.

Defense attorney Jim Griffin asks Alex Murdaugh if he killed his wife Maggie Murdaugh and son Paul Murdaugh with the 12-gauge shotgun that is in evidence in Murdaugh’s murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023.

This isn’t the initial occasion Griffin, Murdaugh family have faced criticism.

Alex Murdaugh’s alleged crimes and confirmed mischief have not only gotten him into legal trouble but also his attorneys and his family, marking this as his first time facing such serious accusations.

Reprimanded in a public courtroom, Judge Clifton Newman considered unsuitable a post on Twitter that Griffin posted during Murdaugh’s six-week homicide trial in Walterboro.

During the trial, it was reported by multiple media outlets that a member of the Murdaugh family, who allegedly passed a book of contraband illegally to one of his attorneys, was moved farther away from him and chastised by his family members. Additionally, he was charged with violating courthouse security rules.

Why is this an important issue, and what is the outcome for Alex Murdaugh?

The defense attorney cautioned Murdaugh that his conduct in consultations with Griffin could jeopardize his future. The SCDC also put him “on notice” in a letter, adding that further violations could lead to more serious consequences.

In line with the SCDC policy, individuals under their supervision are not allowed to carry out interviews for legitimate reasons – to protect victims.

The SCDC release stated, “When they enter SCDC, inmates forfeit the right to communicate with the news media.” The department holds the belief that individuals who have been victimized should not be subjected to seeing or hearing the perpetrator or their family member on the news. “SCDC’s policy regarding interviews is based on the rights of victims and has been in place for a long time.”

The inmate Murdaugh will have the opportunity to earn a tablet again if and when the department determines it. They are considered a privilege. The tablets that are designed for inmate use are secured and computerized, and they were added when the inmate was released.

To stay updated, make sure to follow DeWitt on Facebook and on Twitter at @mmdewittjr. Keep track of the Murdaugh crime saga cases by following the ongoing coverage from The Hampton County Guardian/Greenville News and the USA Today Network, where Michael DeWitt’s reporting will be followed closely.