One of Alex Murdaugh’s lawyers pointed an assault rifle at the prosecutors’ table and quipped “tempting” during a demonstration Tuesday afternoon that led to some courtroom laughs at the double-homicide trial.
Dick Harpootlian made the wisecrack while trying to show jurors the shooter’s stance with the .300 Blackout rifle as he questioned a forensic engineer who was testifying for the defense, according to Fox News.
“Tempting,” he shockingly joked after he briefly aimed the gun at prosecutors.
Harpootlian, who is also a Democratic South Carolina state senator, chuckled as others in the courtroom can be heard laughing. Even South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson flashed a smile, according to Fox News.
“I don’t know how I can do this so I’m not pointing at somebody,” Harpootlian added.
Murdaugh, 54, is accused of shooting and killing his 52-year-old wife Maggie Murdaugh with a rifle and 22-year-old son Paul with a shotgun on June 7, 2021, at their Colleton County estate. The disgraced lawyer could face 30 years in prison if he’s found guilty.
Forensic engineer Mike Sutton argued Murdaugh was too tall to be the gunman who fired at his wife, estimating the shooter was about a foot shorter than Murdaugh, who is 6-foot-4.
During the defense expert testimony, an evidence exhibit unveiled a past photo of the scion smiling as his height was measured.
Murdaugh also cracked a rare smile when his surviving son Buster Murdaugh, 26, took the stand Tuesday for the defense.
He said that his dad refused to live or sleep where his wife Maggie and 22-year-old son Paul were killed in the 10 days after the slayings.
“He was destroyed. He was heartbroken. I walked through the door, I saw him and I gave him a hug,” Buster Murdaugh said.
Buster Murdaugh’s testimony aimed to poke holes in the prosecution’s case, and during a break in the trial, Alex Murdaugh could be seen giving his son a reassuring pat on the side as they quickly crossed paths.
While Harpootlian’s remarks added some bizarre levity to the trial, Murdaugh’s other lawyer Jim Griffin earned a stern rebuke from Judge Clifton Newman before testimony began for tweeting out a Washington Post opinion piece with the headline “Alex Murdaugh trial reveals a sloppy investigation.”
An annoyed Newman told Griffin his social media musing at least violated the spirit of a rule that lawyers on a case should not criticize witnesses or other attorneys.
“I understand your honor,” Griffin replied. “I will not retweet anything or tweet anything until this trial is over.”
With Post wires
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