Defense attorney Dick Harpootlian explained why the team decided to have Alex Murdaugh take the stand to testify in his own defense, saying his credibility was under question because of his alleged financial wrongdoings.
“Once they got that character information — ‘he’s a thief, he’s a liar’ — then this jury had to think that he’s despicable human being, and not be believed. So it was about character, it wasn’t about motive,” Harpootlian told reporters on Friday, just hours after Murdaugh was sentenced to life in prison by the judge.
Murdaugh always wanted to take the stand, but the team debated whether he should until the financial information came out, which limited their defense options, the lawyer explained.
“As a result, our options were limited, Should he take the stand? Well we debated that. He always wanted to take the stand. Once that information was in, I mean he had to take the stand to explain the kennel video, the lie,” Harpootlian said.
“His credibility had been stripped away by the financial mistakes,” he added.
In a separate case that has not yet gone to trial, Murdaugh faces 99 charges stemming from a slew of alleged financial crimes, including defrauding his clients, former law firm and the government of millions.