Alex Murdaugh Tries to Blame Cousin for Murders of Wife, Son, Citing Polygraph Test

Alex Murdaugh is accused of murdering his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul, on June 7, 2021

alex murdaugh
Alex Murdaugh. Photo: Orange County Department of Corrections

Alex Murdaugh has been sitting in jail for more than a year, accused of fatally shooting his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul.

But in a new court filing, Murdaugh's legal team claims that their client is innocent — and points the finger at his cousin, Curtis "Eddie" Smith.

In the motion, which was filed on Friday and first obtained by The State, attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin claim Smith was the one who committed the shootings at the family's 1,770-acre estate in Islandton, S.C., on June 7, 2021.

"Smith decidedly failed a polygraph when questioned if he murdered Maggie and Paul," the attorneys wrote. "The reason Smith failed the polygraph when asked if he murdered Maggie and Paul is because he in fact did commit these heinous crimes."

An attorney for Smith did not immediately return PEOPLE's message.

Alex Murdaugh has pleaded not guilty to the two murder charges. He is facing trial in 2023.

Murdaugh, who was once a prominent attorney in South Carolina, has been disbarred from practicing law. He faces more than 85 criminal charges in addition to the murder counts, many of which were uncovered after police began investigating the family after the murders.

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Murdaugh Family
From left, Buster Murdaugh, Margaret "Maggie" Murdaugh, Paul Murdaugh, Alex Murdaugh. Maggie Murdaugh/Facebook

In August 2021, Murdaugh allegedly tried to stage his own death so that his one surviving son, Buster Murdaugh, then 26, could benefit from a $10 million life insurance settlement.

According to prosecutors, Murdaugh had Smith — the same man he has now accused of killing his family — shoot him on the side of the road, but the shooting was unsuccessful and Murdaugh suffered only superficial wounds.

Murdaugh was criminally charged in connection with the alleged botched suicide-for-hire plot and is also awaiting trial in that case.

Additionally, Murdaugh faces dozens of charges for alleged financial crimes including misappropriating money from his law firm, defrauding clients of funds and computer crimes. Authorities allege that he also defrauded the family of his former housekeeper out of a $4.5 million insurance settlement after she died in a mysterious slip-and-fall accident at his home.

Murdaugh has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges against him. His laywers have alleged that he suffers from an opioid addiction that caused him to live a double life. He remains in jail on a $7 million bond.

Attorneys for Murdaugh have not returned PEOPLE's calls for comment.

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