On Tuesday morning, when Alex Murdaugh’s defence attorney started yelling at his old friend of 25 years in the courtroom, tensions exploded during the double murder trial.
Dick Harpootlian, the lawyer for the disgraced legal dynasty heir, lost his cool and became more agitated while questioning Ronnie Crosby, the state’s initial rebuttal witness.
The defendant lied to Mr. Crosby about his alibi on the night that his wife Maggie and son Paul were killed, according to Mr. Crosby, Mr. Murdaugh’s friend of 25 years and his law firm partner at PMPED, who testified earlier in the trial.
Closing arguments usually last 20-60min. Shut up already Creighton Waters. We still have the defense closing argument and then the state can have a rebuttal closing argument. Holy hell the jury wont be in deliberation until next week sometime 😴 #murdaughtrial
— Joseph Teachout 🌵🏴☠️ (@Teachout4Trump) March 1, 2023
In his testimony, he also discussed how the killings caused the investigation into the missing money to be put on hold after he learned that his close friend and colleague had stolen millions of dollars from their law firm and its clients.
When Mr. Crosby returned to the witness stand on Tuesday, Mr. Harpootlian interrogated him about the amount of his own money he had to pay out to the victims of Mr. Murdaugh’s fraud schemes during a tense cross-examination.
When Mr. Harpootlian went so far as to say that Mr. Crosby was testifying against Mr. Murdaugh because he was upset with him over the stolen money, things got out of hand.
Mr. Crosby responded, “I would take high offence with that, Mr. Harpootlian, if you’re indicating that I would come in here and somehow tint the truth in any way because of that.
This prompted Mr. Harpootlian to yell at the state’s witness and mock the idea that he is not angry with Mr. Murdaugh in response.
“Your high offence doesn’t worry me. Are you upset with him for taking your cash? Yelled Mr. Harpootlian.
Mr. Harpootlian responded angrily when Mr. Crosby said he had “no feeling one way or another” towards Mr. Murdaugh any longer.
He mockingly questioned: “You don’t have any feelings over Alex Murdaugh betraying you and stealing your money. I’m not sure whether I could look past it.
He persisted in interrogating Mr. Crosby about his animosity for his former friend before provoking him by hinting that he was getting furious during the heated exchange while testifying.
Mr. Crosby testified in court that he once harboured resentment towards Mr. Murdaugh but had to let it go in order to preserve his own life.
He replied, growing more agitated, “I have had enormous animosity with him, Mr. Harpootlian, because of what he did to my law company, my partners, my clients, his clients, our clients, what he did to his family, what he did to so many others.
“Sure, I felt a lot of rage, but anger cannot be carried around. You have to figure out how to handle it so that you can move on, and I have. When we’re talking about two people who were brutally murdered, if you think I came in here and told this jury something out of a desire for money, you’re dead wrong.
Mr. Harpootlian persisted in prodding him about being “zen” and “nirvanaed” and asserting that “maybe I simply saw some anger there” in an effort to elicit a greater response or an admission regarding a possible motivation for his testimony.
I came to the scene of these killings to defend my partner, Mr. Crosby said. I was present. I witnessed events that have not even been discussed in this trial. I was present. Paul and I were really close. I assumed I was familiar with Alex. No, I didn’t. But, carrying a grudge around is difficult. You may not be that way, but I need to get by. I have a family. I must continue living my life.
However, he clarified that while he had made an effort to move on with his life, he had not necessarily forgiven his former friend.
“There’s a lot of emotion there when you go through what we’ve gone through,” he said. “Not only did we lose people we loved in a double homicide, but we saw the aftermath and then learned that someone you worked with for more than 20 years had been stealing throughout a period of time and deceiving us.
“And yeah, the collapse of 2021 was horrible, but I’ve discovered a way to be emotionless. It isn’t forgiving. Simply put, I don’t feel anything.
Towards the end of the heated discussion, Mr. Harpootlain made the implication that Mr. Crosby “may not want to support him in front of this jury” because of Mr. Murdaugh’s financial offences.
“All of those things did occur, but they have no bearing on my testimony. I take the oath that I just took very seriously, and if you have any reason to believe that anything I said was incorrect, I’ll be happy to discuss it with you, Mr. Crosby calmly said.
Mr. Harpootlian replied, “Oh, the jury can judge that, thank you.
After Mr. Crosby argued with Mr. Harpootlian that trauma victims frequently receive information about what went wrong, they got into a heated argument. Mr. Crosby has represented numerous personal injury clients who have undergone trauma.
“They are. But I also discover that those who have gone through horrific situations work very hard to be very exact with the facts because they are aware of how crucial it is to the person who is representing them,” he added.
Mr. Crosby described in direct evidence how Mr. Murdaugh stole money from his friend who had terminal cancer and was in the process of dying.
Barrett Boulware, a friend of both Mr. Crosby and Mr. Murdaugh, was receiving colon cancer treatment at the Mayo Clinic in the year or so 2018.
Mr. Crosby said in court that he assisted Mr. Boulware financially with the treatment, and Mr. Murdaugh was aware of this.
Subsequently, Mr. Crosby claimed to have discovered Mr. Murdaugh’s theft of $75,000 in insurance proceeds from their dying friend.
Mr. Crosby, who testified for the third time during Mr. Murdaugh’s murder trial, was the first rebuttal witness called by the prosecution.