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Alex Murdaugh enters into plea deal over federal financial crimes charges

A document filed late Monday in federal court spells out some of the details of the deal, which still must be accepted by a judge.

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh has entered into a federal plea deal on financial crimes ahead of a hearing on those charges later this week.

A document filed late Monday in federal court spells out some of the details of the deal, which still must be accepted by a judge on Thursday morning. It is signed by Murdaugh. 

The charges relate to what prosecutors say was him taking millions of dollars from his clients and the law firm his family ran over several years. The plea agreement calls for him to pay back $9 million of the money he took and to cooperate fully investigators on all aspects of the crimes. While a sentence isn't specified in the deal he could face a maximum of 30 years in prison on some of the counts.

Murdaugh faces 14 counts of money laundering, five counts of wire fraud, one count of bank fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Murdaugh, 55, is serving a life sentence for killing his wife and son at their home two years ago. But he insisted from the witness stand at his trial that he did not kill them and is appealing his double murder conviction.

Prosecutors say he decided to kill them because his millions of dollars of theft was about to be discovered and he was hoping their deaths would buy him sympathy and time to figure out a cover-up.

He is currently in protective custody at an undisclosed state prison after being convicted in March of the shooting deaths of his 22-year-old son, Paul, killed with shotgun blasts, and 52-year-old wife, Maggie, who was shot several times with a rifle.

Murdaugh is also awaiting trial on around 100 other state charges. Along with the thefts, they also include insurance fraud, a drug and money laundering ring, tax evasion and theft.

He appeared in court for the first time last week to face those charges and the judge set a trial date in November in that case. Meanwhile, Murdaugh's attorneys are asking the South Carolina Court of Appeals to let him seek a new trial, claiming that the Colleton County Clerk of Court tampered with the jury.  The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division has been asked by State Attorney General Alan Wilson to investigate those claims. While that investigation is ongoing, Wilson said last week the probe had already found factual disputes with Murdaugh's claims about the clerk. 

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