Alex Murdaugh's Lawyers File Motion to Reduce $7 Million Bond, Saying He Has Less than $10K in Bank Account

“Mr. Murdaugh is a man who cannot pay his phone bill,” according to a motion from the beleaguered lawyer’s attorneys, who accused the judge of setting an unreasonably high bond

murdaugh family
Photo: Hampton County Detention Center

Once-wealthy attorney Alex Murdaugh has less than $10,000 in his bank account, according to his lawyers who have asked a South Carolina judge to reduce his $7 million bond.

"Mr. Murdaugh does not have seven million dollars or anything close to that amount," according to a motion filed Tuesday in the state grand jury system by Murdaugh's attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, The Island Packet first reported. "Mr. Murdaugh is a man who cannot pay his phone bill."

Murdaugh, 53, has less than $10,000 in his bank accounts, according to the motion obtained by PEOPLE.

murdaugh family
Alex and Maggie Murdaugh.

The scion of a South Carolina legal dynasty has been held in the Columbia jail since Oct. 16 after being arrested and charged with a host of financial and other crimes. He is also facing a slew of civil suits in the millions.

Murdaugh made national news in June when he came home and found his wife, Maggie, 52, and their son, Paul, 22, gunned down on their 1,770-acre estate in Islandton.

murdaugh family
Maggie, Paul and Alex Murdaugh.

In September, he was arrested and charged in connection with a botched suicide-for-hire plan after allegedly hiring a former client to shoot him in the head so his surviving son, Buster, 26, could claim a $10 million life insurance payout.

He was released on bond and returned to an out-of-state rehab program to treat his opioid addiction.

In October, he was arrested and charged in connection with the alleged misappropriation of $4.3 million in settlement funds that were supposed to go to the sons of his late housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who died in a trip-and-fall accident while working at the Murdaugh's home.

He was jailed on Oct. 16 and remains held in the Columbia jail in Richland County.

On Dec. 13, after Murdaugh was hit with a new batch of charges, S.C. judge Alison Renee Lee granted a $7 million bond for 48 counts of financial misconduct Murdaugh faces — one of the largest in South Carolina history, with no option to pay 10 percent of it to be released.

Alex Murdaugh
Alex Murdaugh, PEOPLE cover. Facebook

"The Court's order requiring a $7 million surety bond is tantamount to no bond at all," Murdaugh's attorneys argued in the motion.

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Murdaugh is facing charges including filing a false police report, insurance fraud, conspiracy, embezzlement and money laundering, prosecutors say.

Murdaugh's attorneys argued in the motion that since these alleged charges are not "violent offenses," Murdaugh "therefore has a constitutional right to be released on bail in amount no higher than necessary to insure (sic) his presence at trial."

Murdaugh is accused of defrauding his law firm, former clients and other alleged victims of more than $6.2 million.

As a result, Murdaugh's assets have been placed into receivership and are under the exclusive control of court-appointed co-receivers.

Murdaugh also cannot sell, transfer or dispose of any of his assets.

Alex Murdaugh in court
Alex Murdaugh. Lewis M Levine/AP/Shutterstock

In the motion, Murdaugh's attorneys pointed out that lawyers for the co-receivers of Murdaugh's accounts say they are "unable to allow payment of even small credit card or telephone bills."

That's because Murdaugh "has very little liquid assets at this time" and "given the very limited resources, it doesn't make sense … to pay … charges from unsecured creditors."

Murdaugh's attorneys ended the motion by asking the court to reconsider its bond order, set a hearing to receive evidence from the court-appointed co-receivers and "grant Murdaugh a pre-trial release upon the posting of a reasonable bond."

A hearing on the motion has not yet been set, a spokesman for the South Carolina Attorney General's Office tells PEOPLE.

Murdaugh was hit with another blow this week when the law firm his family started — Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick — removed the Murdaugh name from its title, WTOC reports.

The firm is now called Parker Law Group, LLP, according to its website.

Murdaugh is a person of interest in the murders of his wife and son, according to his attorneys. Authorities haven't named any suspects or made any arrests in connection with the slayings.

Attorneys for Murdaugh did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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