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Inside Politics

Alex Murdaugh Cross-Examined In His Murder Trial. Aired 12:30- 1p ET

Aired February 24, 2023 - 12:30   ET




CREIGHTON WATERS, PROSECUTOR: That's when you went back to the kennels after you came back from Almeda, correct?

MURDAUGH: I went to the kennels after I went to the house. I went from Almeda, to the house, to the kennels.

WATERS: And we got to the scene. You got out of the car, according to what you told law enforcement repeatedly, and went and checked the bodies, correct? Before you called 911, is that correct?

MURDAUGH: No, sir, that's not correct.

WATERS: You're saying you didn't say that to law enforcement?

MURDAUGH: I don't know what I said to law enforcement, Mr. Waters, but I can tell you this. I pulled up and I saw Maggie and Pawpaw. I jumped out of that car. I noted I went back to my car and I called 911 as quickly as I could. That point in time, when I got on the phone then is when I went to them and did the things that I did.

WATERS: So but you were --

MURDAUGH: But you're saying is not accurate.

WATERS: You're saying that you didn't say very specifically the law enforcement that you went to them prior to calling 911.


WATERS: After you got out of the car, you told law enforcement repeatedly that you went over and checked the bodies before you called 911?

MURDAUGH: No, I don't -- if I did say that, I don't believe that's accurate. Did I check Maggie and Paul before I called 911?

WATERS: Correct.

MURDAUGH: No, sir. That's not -- I don't -- that's not accurate. At least that's not what I remember. WATERS: That's not what you remember saying or that's not what you say now happens?

MURDAUGH: No, that's not what I believe happened.

WATERS: OK, but you don't deny that's what you said?

MURDAUGH: Did I said, did I check Maggie and Paul before I called 911?

WATERS: Correct?

MURDAUGH: I don't believe that's what I said. Now, I know I checked them, but I don't believe I checked them before I called 911. Because I can pretty well remember vividly. When I checked Pawpaw, I was already on the phone with 911.

WATERS: Looking at this data, did show the vehicle parking at 10:05 and 55 seconds.

MURDAUGH: Yes, sir.

WATERS: And 10:05:57. The Suburban arrives at the kennels. You agree with that?

MURDAUGH: I'm sorry, say that again, Mr. Waters.

WATERS: At 10:05:57, it shows the Suburban arriving at the kennels.


WATERS: The 911 call was at 10:06:14.


WATERS: Just about 20 seconds later. Do you agree with that?

MURDAUGH: I think that sounds right. Yes, sir. I mean, that makes sense. But that goes back to what I'm saying is I pulled up, I saw -- I saw them, and I know I jumped out of my car. But I believe that before I checked them, in fact, I'm almost certain that then I went back and I got my -- that's when I went and got my phone and I called 911.



MURDAUGH: And then after I called 911, they -- I mean, there was a little while where there wasn't -- I don't think there was anything going on. And I believe that that is the time period that I went and checked on them.

WATERS: I don't want to go to this point, but that what you're saying here today, now that we have this data, that's not exactly how you expressed it to law enforcement in your prior statements, is that correct? MURDAUGH: No, sir. I disagree with that.


MURDAUGH: I totally disagree with that, Mr. Waters. Will you point to what you're talking about?



DAVID OWEN, SLED AGENT: All right, sir. (INAUDIBLE). All right, Mr. Murdaugh, state your full name for me, please.

MURDAUGH: Richard Alexander Murdaugh.

OWEN: Can you spell your last name so it would be correct?


OWEN: All right. And you go by Alex?

MURDAUGH: Yes, sir.

OWEN: And date of birth, Mr. Murdaugh?

MURDAUGH: May 27, 1968.

OWEN: Phone number for you?

MURDAUGH: 803-942-1227.

OWEN: All right. And, sir, what was your name?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Damien Anderson (ph).

OWEN: OK. All right, as I stated, I'm David Owen and (INAUDIBLE) on this county. I'm a SLED. I have to do this.

MURDAUGH: I understand. I totally understand. So you don't have any problem with it.

OWEN: Yes. So just start to talk. Take your time.

MURDAUGH: Like, when I came back here? I mean, I pulled up and I could see them. And, you know, I knew something was bad. I ran out. I knew it was really bad. My boy over there, I can see. It was -- I could see (INAUDIBLE).


And I ran over to Maggie. Actually, I think I tried to turn Paul over first. You know, I tried to turn him over. And I don't know. I figured it out. His cell phone popped out of his pocket. I started trying to do something with it, thinking maybe, but then I put it back down really quickly. Then I went to my wife and I mean, I could see --

OWEN: OK. Did you touch Maggie at all?

MURDAUGH: I did. I touched them both.


MURDAUGH: I tried to take -- I mean, I tried to do it as limited as possible, but I tried to take their pulse on both of them. And, you know, I called 911 pretty much right away. And she was very good. I talked to her. I told her I was going to get off the phone to call some family members. I did that. And --

OWEN: What family members did you call in?

MURDAUGH: I called my brother Randy, and I called my brother John. And I tried to call a little boy, real good friend that's right around the corner from here, but I didn't get him.



WATERS: That person (INAUDIBLE) right around the corner? Is that who you're talking about?

MURDAUGH: That's correct. But going back to your question, I mean, that's the way I remember it what I said right there. And, you know, your question about did I do these things before I called 911, that's not what I said then, and that's not what I remember now.

WATERS: OK. So you're saying now that you went out, checked, you came back, got your phone, and that's when you called 911?

MURDAUGH: I'm not saying that now, Mr. Waters. I am saying that now. But to me, that's what I said then. I mean, I told her I called 911 right away. I didn't have -- there was no time to do the things that I'm talking about doing in the time between getting there and calling 911.

WATERS: When you talked about calling Rogan, and you said that he lived right around the corner, correct?

MURDAUGH: That's correct.

WATERS: All right. But Rogan wasn't staying there at the time. That's the whole reason the Cash was at your kennel, right? You knew that.

MURDAUGH: Well, Rogan was staying in Buford a lot, but he was home a lot, too. I didn't know where Rogan was on a daily basis.

WATERS: (INAUDIBLE) you about keeping his dog Cash at the kennels when he was staying with his girlfriend and working down in Buford?

MURDAUGH: Yes, he had asked me that. But, I mean, that had been some time before. I didn't know making a big deal about this, Mr. Waters, but that particular night, I didn't have a clue where Rogan was staying or not staying. I was trying to find somebody to come out there with me. I'd called Randy, I'd called John, and Rogan was the next best alternative.


MURDAUGH: And Rogan is so close. I mean, Rogan, of all these kids that you've heard, Rogan Gibson -- Rowrow (ph) is like Rogan. Prefer when I call him, Rogan, is truly like a son to Maggie and I. And he was such a good friend of Buster and he was such a good friend to Paul.

And you've been through everything I have. You'll see that two weeks or three weeks prior to this, I ran out of gas when Bus and Pawpaw weren't home. And Rogan is the person that I called to bring me gas.

WATERS: OK. Nobody's disputing any that Rogan would have helped you. Let me keep playing this.




OWEN: Any other things? Anything else?

MURDAUGH: I mean, there was somebody thing. Yes, sir.

OWEN: I mean, like any other evidence. I know you said the phone fell out of pocket, but did you see anything else that didn't belong or shouldn't belong or that wasn't part of Paul?


MURDAUGH: No, sir. None. No. None. No sir.

OWEN: About Maggie?

MURDAUGH: No, sir.

OWEN: You didn't say anything around, though? What made you come out here tonight?

MURDAUGH: I went to -- my mom's late-stage Alzheimer's patient, my dad's in the hospital. My mom gets anxious when she does. I went to check on them, and Maggie's a dog lover, and she fools with the dogs. And I knew she'd gone to the kennel. I was at the house.



WATERS: You just testified that in the wake of this, you didn't know what you said to law enforcement. That was what you just said? MURDAUGH: No, I mean, I know a lot of what I said to law enforcement, but there's a lot of things in looking back at this video, for one, the 911 call, for one. I mean, there's a lot of things that I didn't remember.

WATERS: OK. But right then and there, just not long into this interview, made a conscious decision to lie right there.

MURDAUGH: Say that again.

WATERS: You said, I was at the house.


MURDAUGH: And I knew she'd gone to the kennel. I was at the house. I left the --


MURDAUGH: You played --

WATERS: You want me to back it up some more?


WATERS: Yes, we can keep listening to it.


OWEN: Anything around, though? What made you come out here tonight?

MURDAUGH: I went to -- my mom's late-stage Alzheimer's patient, my dad's in the hospital. My mom gets anxious when she does. I went to check on them, and Maggie's a dog lover, and she fools with the dogs. And I knew she'd gone to the kennel. I was at the house.



MURDAUGH: You want to hear it again?

MURDAUGH: No, sir. But I don't think --

WATERS: You made a conscious decision to lie right there this early into an interview sitting in the front seat, correct?

MURDAUGH: I don't believe so.

WATERS: You didn't make a conscious decision to lie?

MURDAUGH: I don't believe that was lying at that point.

WATERS: OK. Tell me why not.

MURDAUGH: Because Maggie had gone to the kennels and I was at the house.

WATERS: OK. So you think you were being -- that was not a lie at that point?

MURDAUGH: I don't believe so.

WATERS: At what point did you decide to lie?

MURDAUGH: I'm not sure, but it was in that --

WATERS: It was in this interview?

MURDAUGH: I believe that it was.

WATERS: OK. Was this interview where you're sitting in the front seat, correct?


WATERS: You're not in custody, correct?

MURDAUGH: I'm not in custody.

WATERS: They're giving you water, letting you chew tobacco, treating you politely, correct?

MURDAUGH: They were treating me very politely.

WATERS: So what was it that they clicked? So you said this interview that it clicked, that I'm going to lie about the most important fact that I know.

MURDAUGH: I'm not sure exactly when in it that I lied, decided to lie, but I believe it was during this interview. I believe all those things that I talked about, you know, those things that had gone on, the things that people have said tome about don't talk to anybody without a lawyer.

Partners all told me that. A lot of my partners told me that. My dear friend Chief Alexander was one who said that. I overheard I believe it was Sheriff Hill, I'm not positive. I overheard him tell I believe Mark Ball or Gray Homes (ph) don't let him talk to anybody without a lawyer.

And what I believe is that based on my distrust of SLED and getting in that interview -- and I'm not positive about this, but I believe when he asked me, you know, about my relationship with my wife and my son, I believe that's when I decided to lie. But I'm not positive.

WATERS: You're not so left out when you had the GSR, too, because that's what you testified to that yesterday.

MURDAUGH: That certainly contributed.

WATERS: And your dope paranoia too. You said that as well, correct?

MURDAUGH: Well, those things are what triggered the paranoia that started as my addiction evolved.

WATERS: So, you're an experienced lawyer and you've been a prosecutor, and you took the advice of your law partners that you should have a lawyer there as -- you read that as, oh, I should lie.

MURDAUGH: No, that's not accurate.

WATERS: So that's not what that means, is it, Mr. Murdaugh?

MURDAUGH: That's not an accurate statement, what you just said, Mr. Waters.


I just repeated what you just said. You said it was one of the factors was your law partners, and now you're blaming Sheriff Hill and Greg Alexander told you that you needed a lawyer before you talk to police, and you took that somehow as meaning I need to lie --


WATERS: -- as a lawyer and a prosecutor?

MURDAUGH: No, that's what you said, Mr. Waters, but I --

WATERS: I'm mischaracterizing it from your perspective, Mr. Murdaugh.

MURDAUGH: Because --

WATERS: Because I think that's -- that ain't what you heard? And that what you just said? Excuse me.

MURDAUGH: No, sir, that's not what I said.

WATERS: All right. Say it again.

MURDAUGH: I believe those guys were trying to help me. I believe they cared about me. I believe they thought that I was in a condition such that I shouldn't talk to anybody. I mean, those guys had to prop me up, help me get myself together just to be able to go talk to David Owens. I mean, they were trying to help me.

But before that, that was just one of the many things that I believe led to that situation. Sitting in there where those paranoid thoughts came to me. Them talking about not talking to anybody without a lawyer. Brian Varnado (ph) checking my hands. The fact that I got a pocket full of pills in my pocket.

I was the person who found Maggie and Paul, my distrust for SLED, all of those factors combined and made me decide to lie. I also know him asking me about Maggie and Pawpaw contributed to that paranoia. All I'm saying is I'm not disputing that I lied. I'm just saying at this point you're saying and I made a conscious decision to lie here, and I'm saying I don't think I made a conscious decision right there.

WATERS: OK, so liar. MURDAUGH: I believe so.

WATERS: Have you already had your GSR done at this point?

MURDAUGH: Yes, sir.



WATERS: And you already talked to your law partners and talked to and heard Sheriff Hill. And now you're blaming him, and blaming --

MURDAUGH: I'm not --

WATERS: -- and Chief Alexander now as well, for your lies?

MURDAUGH: No, sir. Mr. Waters, I'm not --

WATERS: You just added that one. You didn't say that yesterday, and you just added that one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please, if you give an opportunity to answer the question.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) you can finish your last answer.

MURDAUGH: Mr. Waters, I'm not blaming anybody. I accept full responsibility for what I did. What I'm saying is what I believe contributed to me doing that and the reason why I did that. I think those folks were trying to help me, so I don't blame them. I think they were worried about me.

WATERS: OK. I don't dispute that. But you're saying you took that advice as I need to lie.

MURDAUGH: No. What you're doing is you're isolating one single thing --

WATERS: I'm not isolating anything. I've mentioned all the factors. You've added some new ones, but I mentioned all the factors that you're blaming your obsession to lie.

MURDAUGH: That's not what you did. What you asked me is you said, I took my partners telling me not to talk to somebody without a lawyer as a reason to lie, and that's an inaccurate statement. That was one of the factors that went into a series --

WATERS: Your reason to lie.

MURDAUGH: Hang on, Mr. Waters. A series of events, right, that caused me to have paranoid thinking, right, and then I lied. WATERS: All right. But at some point, it happened during this interview that you crossed over. You're saying that you came into this interview intended to be fully disclosing to everything, and something happened in this interview that sent you over the edge, and you said, hey, let me lie about the last time I saw my wife and child. A lot, supposedly, according to me.

MURDAUGH: I certainly didn't go into that interview, I believe intended a lot.


MURDAUGH: Mr. Waters, I wasn't capable at that point in time of planning anything or thinking through anything.

WATERS: So somehow during this interview, all of a sudden, those senses came to you to plan and do that?

MURDAUGH: When I got to thinking in that paranoid way that normally, as I said, I mean, I could take a deep breath and make it go away. I never had a situation where it lasted more than a matter of seconds.


That night, after all those things had happened, it didn't go away in a matter of seconds. And I decided to lie.

WATERS: Those are the clothes that you ultimately gave to Dave Owen, is that right?

MURDAUGH: Those are the clothes I gave to David Owens.

WATERS: At what point did you get -- be able to chuck the pills you say are in your pocket? When did you do that?

MURDAUGH: When I was in my bedroom.

WATERS: When you're in the bedroom?

MURDAUGH: Yes, sir.

WATERS: Where did you put them?

MURDAUGH: I'm not sure where I put them, but ultimately they would have gone in my suitcase.

WATERS: So that's when you did it. Do you have a specific recollection of that?

MURDAUGH: No, I don't. I just know that I took them out of my pocket.

WATERS: If we watched this whole video, you think you could -- if we watch the whole thing, you think you can say, OK, that's the moment where my senses came to me and I decided I was going to tell this major lie. MURDAUGH: I don't know that it happened like that, but I mean, I maybe able to tell you some things that contributed to it. We watched the whole thing.

WATERS: We've heard that. I just want to be clear, though, at least on this one, at some point during this interview, when you were able to plan your lie about this event and you made that decision. But it wasn't what we just played. It wasn't yet. It was some point after that.

MURDAUGH: I don't think that's a lie right there, is the reason why I don't think that it's occurred before this because what I'm saying there --

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: I'm John King in Washington. You're watching Alex Murdaugh on the stand, day two of cross examination in his double murder trial in Walterboro, South Carolina. The prosecution just moments ago playing the tape of the defendant's initial answers to police on the night of the murders to highlight what they call his ever-changing story.

Back to this dramatic testimony after a quick break.

MURDAUGH: And I may be wrong, but I believe that this was before that.


ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello. I'm Abby Phillip in Washington. I'm going to get you right back to the Alex Murdaugh trial underway right now in South Carolina.

MURDAUGH: I don't believe so.

WATERS: You told David Owen that you understood that the he had to ask questions and you do what you need to do, correct?

MURDAUGH: That is what I told him.

Your Honor, this might be a good time for a break.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) clock. Ladies and gentlemen, addressing the jury who breaks until 2:15. If you're out to this jury room, please do not discuss the case.