Paul Murdaugh’s former girlfriend detailed in court papers how the Murdaugh family enabled Paul’s binge drinking while underage, prior to a deadly boat crash in 2019.
In a sworn affidavit filed Thursday in Hampton County, Morgan Doughty stated she has first-hand knowledge of how her ex-boyfriend Paul Murdaugh drank excessively, how Murdaugh’s parents funded and allowed him to do so while he was underage, and how Doughty has videos to prove it.
The February 2019 boat crash, which killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach and shed the first harsh spotlight on the Murdaugh legal dynasty, prompted a civil lawsuit against the Murdaugh family and Parker’s convenience stores. It’s been over three years since the lawsuit was filed.
The Doughty filing comes a day before a Friday hearing in Lexington County on the boat crash case, where jailed patriarch Alex Murdaugh’s attorneys are expected to argue to remove the “receivership” which is controlling and examining Murdaugh’s finances. Alex Murdaugh is incarcerated awaiting trial on charges he stole $8.4 million belonging to clients and colleagues.
The boat crash lawsuit accuses the Murdaughs of negligence in enabling Paul Murdaugh’s drinking prior to the boat crash and Parker’s for allowing him to purchase beer using his older brother’s ID.
But since then, Paul, 22, and Maggie, 52, Murdaugh were both found shot to death on June 7, 2021 at the family property “Moselle” in Colleton County. Their still-unsolved murders have caused every aspect of the Murdaughs’ lives to be picked apart by police, prosecutors, media and the public.
Doughty’s filing further illuminates the behavior that lead up to the fatal boat crash that first brought scrutiny on the Murdaugh family name.
Videos showing intoxicated Murdaugh
Paul Murdaugh, son of Alex Murdaugh, “consumed alcohol on an almost daily basis and regularly drank to the point of becoming grossly intoxicated,” a fact known by his family members, according to Doughty’s affidavit.
Murdaugh would regularly drink to the point of drunkenness while in front of his family members, the affidavit said. He drove cars and boats while under the influence, and Murdaugh’s parents gave him money to purchase alcohol, according to the document.
In the affidavit, Doughty lists out 22 videos, and screenshots from those videos, that she took prior to the boat crash where Paul Murdaugh was intoxicated with his family or was enabled by his family.
▪ A video taken on July 4, 2018, where Doughty is administering a shot to Murdaugh’s father, Alex Murdaugh. She said Paul Murdaugh was on the boat and also grossly intoxicated.
▪ A video taken on Dec. 31, 2018, where Paul Murdaugh was intoxicated from alcohol provided by his father, the affidavit states. Afterward, “Paul drove Alex’s truck, with Alex’s knowledge, and wrecked into one of his Paul’s friend’s BMWs. Alex paid cash to fix the car after the collision,” the document states.
▪ A video taken in December 2017, where Paul Murdaugh is intoxicated at Moselle, from alcohol he used his brother’s ID to buy and “with his parents’ knowledge,” Doughty said. “Paul’s mother picked us up that night because Paul was so drunk and acting crazy,” the document said.
▪ A video taken in Arizona in 2017, where Paul Murdaugh’s brother, “Buster,” is arm wrestling with Alex’s friend, lawyer Cory Fleming, the affidavit says. Fleming has since faced indictments in the Murdaugh saga and also provided Paul with alcohol that night, the document states.
▪ A video, without a date, taken of a party at Moselle where “Alex provided a keg of beer for a number of minors,” and Buster saw his brother intoxicated.
▪ A video taken at the Boathouse restaurant on Hilton Head Island, where Paul used his brother’s ID to buy alcohol, while Buster used his passport. “Paul’s parents were present and knew and paid the bill for the alcohol,” the affidavit states.
▪ The last two videos came from a wedding in 2018, where Paul had become intoxicated and his parents were there and knew of his condition, the document states. “Alex and Maggie argued on the way home that night because Alex also took a pain killer and became aggressive. We dropped Alex off at his parents’ house on the way home because of his aggressive behavior.”
The behavior detailed in the legal filing is consistent with the picture revealed of Paul Murdaugh when he was taken to the hospital following the boat crash that killed Beach on Feb. 24, 2019. He was belligerent, unruly, and appeared intoxicated, according to prior reporting by the Island Packet & Beaufort Gazette newspapers.
Why such behavior matters now is because of how police deviated from regular practice when investigating the offense of boating under the influence and how Paul Murdaugh’s father, Alex, attempted to interfere with the police investigation, prior reporting revealed.
His actions prompted speculation in the community that the powerful family was attempting to use its influence to cover up for Paul Murdaugh’s actions.
Paul Murdaugh came from a long line of lawyers, most of whom controlled the prosecutor’s office for the five-county 14th Judicial Circuit. His father, Alex, formerly a partner of the Hampton law firm his great-grandfather started, found himself the subject of a lawsuit brought by the Beach family after the crash.
Paul Murdaugh’s behavior allegedly continued even after he was charged, while his family fought the Beach’s lawsuit. Then Paul Murdaugh was killed. It’s unclear how his prior actions fit into his murder. Police have announced no suspects or motives.
Alex Murdaugh has been labeled as a person of interest in the murders of Paul and Maggie. Since then, the patriarch has been on the receiving end of dozens of lawsuits and criminal charges involving financial wrongdoing.
But, according to the latest affidavit, it can all be traced back to drinks on a boat and a family that allowed binge drinking to occur.