At Murdaugh Trial, an Obscene Gesture and Contraband

Official says some family members will have to sit further back in court on Friday due to their antics
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2023 11:05 AM CST
Murdaugh's Family Blasted for Courtroom Antics
Alex Murdaugh is seen during his double murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse on Thursday in Walterboro, South Carolina.   (Joshua Boucher/The State via AP, Pool)

The courtroom drama continues in the murder trial of Alex Murdaugh, the South Carolina man being prosecuted for the June 2021 killings of his wife, 52-year-old Maggie, and son Paul, 22. On Wednesday, a bomb threat led to the evacuation of the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro. Now, it appears that Friday's proceedings will take place with a new seating arrangement—one in which the seats of some of the 54-year-old defendant's family members will be pushed further back in the courtroom, according to the Colleton County clerk of court.

That's due to some antics that are said to have happened earlier in the week. A source tells CNN that on Wednesday, Murdaugh's sister, Lynn Murdaugh Goettee, passed a book up to him without sharing it with the victim advocate, just five minutes after she'd already "been admonished," per the news outlet. Murdaugh was able to get the book, John Grisham's legal-suspense novel The Judge's Rules, back to his jail cell before it was confiscated as contraband. State Judge Clifton Newman, who's overseeing the trial, also was made aware of an obscene gesture apparently made Monday by Murdaugh's surviving son, Buster Murdaugh, in court, per Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill.

The younger Murdaugh is said to have been caught "flipping the bird" at witness Mark Tinsley, the attorney repping the family of Mallory Beach, the teen killed in a 2019 boat accident involving Paul Murdaugh, per the Independent. The jury reportedly didn't see Buster Murdaugh's gesture. Alex Murdaugh's sister and son were slammed for inappropriate contact and conduct, and they've been warned that any more breaches will get them booted from the courtroom. Meanwhile, an attorney for Gloria Satterfield, the Murdaughs' late housekeeper, tells the New York Post that he thinks Alex Murdaugh's alibi is "unraveling," despite the fact that the trial has so far had "some Perry Mason moments, no doubt about it." Murdaugh has pleaded not guilty to the murder and weapons charges he's facing. (More Alex Murdaugh stories.)

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