State Grand Jury Presiding Judge Alison Renee Lee denied a motion for a bond reduction for suspended South Carolina attorney Richard Alexander Murdaugh.
On Tuesday, Jan. 18, Lee filed a written order as a follow-up to the Monday, Jan. 10, virtual bond hearing in which attorneys for Murdaugh pleaded for a bond reduction or reconsideration from a previous ruling.
Judge Lee's ruling said, "After considering all of the information provided, this Court finds that the current bond is reasonable to assure his appearance in court as Defendant remains a flight risk and potential danger to himself and the community. Defendant's motion to reconsider and reduce the bond is DENIED."
Read Judge Lee's full bond order below.
Murdaugh remains detained in the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in Richland County, S.C. on the original $7 million bond, with no ten percent option, set by Judge Lee during a Dec. 13 virtual bond hearing.
Murdaugh currently faces 51 criminal charges involving financial crimes.
Murdaugh's legal team issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon following the ruling: "Alex is unable to post a $7 million bond. He will remain in jail while these charges are pending. Going forward, we hope that the Attorney General will put as much energy and effort towards solving the murders of Maggie and Paul as his office has done with investigating Alex financial affairs."
Presenting evidence and statements during the Jan. 10 hearing were Creighton Waters, Chief Attorney for the State Grand Jury section of the S.C. Attorney General's Office, Murdaugh attorneys Richard Harpootlian and James Griffin, and attorneys for several of Murdaugh's alleged victims: Eric Bland, Ronald Richter, and Justin Bamberg.
John T. Lay, one of the receivers appointed by Judge Daniel Hall as a Co-receiver to manage Murdaugh's financial accounts and property, testified about Murdaugh's assets. Judge Lee also heard from Thomas Moore, another alleged victim of Murdaugh whose case is cited in a State Grand Jury indictment.
Previous hearing: Former attorney receives $7 million bond on 48 state grand jury charges
In addition to his current $7 million bond, with no ten percent option, if released on bond Murdaugh will be facing bond restrictions that include house arrest, GPS electronic monitoring, surrendering of passport, waiver of extradition, mandatory mental health counseling, substance abuse counseling and random drug testing.
Judge Lee also stipulated that if Murdaugh is committed to a residential drug treatment facility it must be a facility located in South Carolina. Murdaugh is also not allowed to have any contact with witnesses, victims or co-defendants in these cases.
After State Grand Jury indictments in November and December, Murdaugh is accused of stealing $6,218,923.33 from numerous victims.
Bond was previously denied by South Carolina Judge Clifton Newman on Nov. 10, pending a psychiatric evaluation.
To prompt last Monday’s hearing, on Jan. 4 Murdaugh attorneys Harpootlian and James Griffin filed a motion for bond reduction with the Clerk of the S.C. State Grand Jury.
The motion asserted that the South Carolina Constitution provides the right for every person to be released on bail unless they are facing charges for a capital or violent offense, and adds that the constitution further prohibits excessive bail.
"The court's order requiring a seven million dollar surety bond is tantamount to no bond at all," Murdaugh's attorneys state in the motion.
Murders, mystery, money: Here's a timeline of the Murdaugh family killings
Murdaugh’s attorney also stated to the court that Murdaugh was not a flight risk or a danger to the community.
“He had plenty of opportunity to flee, but he didn’t,” Harpootlian said. “There is no evidence whatsoever that he poses a danger to anyone in the community. I think it’s bogus, that idea that he is a threat to the community."
Murdaugh is accused of stealing money from his former law client, other attorneys, his former law firm, and even the family of his late housekeeper.
On Dec. 9, the South Carolina State Grand Jury issued seven indictments consisting of 21 charges against Murdaugh. These new indictments charged Murdaugh with nine counts of Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent; seven counts of Computer Crimes; four counts of Money Laundering and one count of Forgery.
On Nov. 19, the State Grand Jury issued five indictments, totaling 27 counts, against Murdaugh. These indictments charged Murdaugh with four counts of Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent; seven counts of Obtaining Signature or Property by False Pretenses; seven counts of Money Laundering; eight counts of Computer Crimes; and one count of Forgery.
Murdaugh, 53, was suspended from the practice of law by order of the state Supreme Court on Sept. 8.
Murdaugh was previously indicted by a Colleton County Grand Jury for offenses related to an alleged scheme to commit suicide and defraud an insurance company.
This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Alex Murdaugh case: Judge denies reduction, reconsideration of $7M bond