Jurors deciding the fate of Alex Murdaugh rendered a swift and sure verdict on Thursday – but they didn’t hear more damning evidence against the shamed legal scion and his propensity for violence.
Murdaugh allegedly beat and raped a prostitute who claims he hired her from a sex trafficking ring that catered to ‘mayors, judges, solicitors, district attorneys and police officers’ – evidence that was never heard by jurors.
Lindsey Edwards, 28, made the explosive allegations in a video interview with a South Carolina news site in August.
The mother-of-four, who says she was sex trafficked while working as a pole dancer, recalled multiple incidents around late 2014 or early 2015 when she was allegedly forced to have sex with Murdaugh and was subjected to multiple savage attacks by the attorney who was sentenced to life in prison on Friday.
Prosecutors said they will now forge ahead with over 100 other charges against Murdaugh, including over financial crimes, an assisted suicide life insurance plot, and obstruction of justice. He also faces an investigation into drug trafficking.
But the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office declined to comment on the status of a reported probe into Edwards’ claims of a four-time savage beating and rape by the disgraced legal scion, and his links to the sex trafficking ring with deep law enforcement connections that Edwards alleged.
On August 2 Fits News published an interview with Edwards and uploaded it to YouTube, in which she tearfully recounted the horrific tale.
Her account was never shown to the jury in Murdaugh’s case, after the judge ruled last month that it would be too confusing to bring in evidence of his infidelity.
Murdaugh’s sister-in-law Marion Proctor told the judge she believed he cheated on her sister 15 years ago – and that her sister had brought up the issue around the time of the murders. ‘She did not think anyone was still going on, it just bothered her,’ Proctor said.
The judge allowed her to testify, but did not allow the jury to hear about the alleged infidelity.
After his conviction on Thursday, Murdaugh now faces at least five separate state investigations, including a financial crimes probe for defrauding clients and associates, charges over trafficking oxycodone and meth, obstruction of justice in the investigation of his son’s Paul’s boat crash that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach.
‘We do intend to pursue the other charges pending against Alex Murdaugh. However, there are no charges against him at this time related to sex trafficking or sexual assault. We cannot confirm, and certainly cannot comment on, anything that may or may not be under investigation,’ South Carolina Attorney General’s Office spokesman Robert Kittle told news outlets.
‘Other than the four charges he was just convicted of, there are 99 State Grand Jury financial charges pending against him, and three local charges related to the roadside shooting incident: conspiracy, false claim for payment, and filing a false police report.’
In an interview last August with Fits News founder Will Folk, Edwards said her ‘madam’ brought her and several other girls to a private party at a beach house on the Isle of Palms in late 2014 or early 2015, where she met Murdaugh.
‘It was apparently a guys weekend or something like that. There was a bunch of guys there drinking, doing drugs. They had a fire going on the deck and eating food and just hanging out,’ she said.
‘I think for the first hour we were there we were taking shots, doing cocaine, smoking weed, hanging out by the fire and just talking and getting to know them.
‘That’s where I met Alex Murdaugh.
‘There were at least enough girls for everybody that was there,’ she told Folk. ‘They had their pick of the crowd between the girls. He attached himself to me. He was very nice, very gentlemanlike at first,’ she said.
He told her he was a personal injury lawyer out of Hampton, South Carolina.
‘When it came time to actually have to service him, my expectations were still pretty high. I was like okay, shouldn’t be that bad, I’ve already done this a good hundreds of dozens of times at this point. He seemed like a really nice person.
But Edwards said that was when the nightmare began.
‘You could just see his whole personality change,’ she said. ‘You could see it in his eyes. Maybe it was the cocaine and everything. His pupils got so much bigger to the point his eyes were almost solid black.
‘I was violently choked with both hands, being pinned down to the bed by my throat,’ she said. ‘It was at the point where I couldn’t breathe.
‘I was blacking out, I was seeing spots, seeing stars. I was beating and scratching on his wrist as much as possible to get him to stop, because I thought at that moment I was going to die.
‘It was also while being violently penetrated. As soon as he was done, I got up and ran out as fast as possible, even completely naked.’
She was set up with another job with Murdaugh at a hotel in North Charleston a few weeks later, without Edwards’ knowledge.
She said this time he ripped chunks of hair out of my head.
‘I had bald spots in the back of my head. The hair there is still taking a while to grow out.’
Just a few days later, she claimed the madam set her up with Murdaugh again.
‘I still had handprints around my neck that I was covering up with makeup,’ she said.
Edwards said that she feared for her life and managed to escape by smuggling her phone with her and calling a cab.
But five hours later her captors found her at home, dragged her out and she was ‘forced to go back and service Murdaugh’ she said.
‘He was even more pissed then,’ she told Fits News. ‘I got hair pulling and choking. If he wasn’t choking me I had a wash rag shoved in my mouth and I was being slapped across my face violently for a good 20-30 minutes.’
Edwards said when she asked her pimp why she let Murdaugh beat her, the woman told her he was a ‘personal friend’.
Edwards said she finally decided to come forward after recognizing Murdaugh amid his murder investigation, and hoped that she could use the notoriety to help campaign for women’s reproductive rights, an issue close to her heart.
She told Fits News she didn’t want money for her story and that any payout from a possible civil lawsuit would go to a charity for human trafficking victims.
‘I would like to open up a foundation for human trafficking victims so they can start their lives over and not have to fight tooth and nail like I had to, to get to where I’m at today,’ she said.
Edwards’ lawyer, former state lawmaker Mandy Powers Norrell, previously confirmed that the mother of four had spent hours with officers from South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) recounting her story.