WALTERBORO, SC — Alex Murdaugh’s high-powered legal team is renting an extravagant wedding venue on 500 acres in Walterboro, South Carolina, during their client’s sensational double murder trial, Fox News Digital has learned.
The property, called Eden at Gracefield, is the temporary home of Murdaugh’s lead defense attorneys, Dick Harpootlian, Jim Griffin and their entourage.
The team rented all five homes “nestled between lakes and tranquil forests” about eight miles from the Colleton County Courthouse for a little less than the list price of $20,475 a week.
“We did give them a little discount because of the length of the stay,” said Laura Walker, who runs the venue with her entrepreneur husband, Paul Walker.
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The third week of Murdaugh’s double murder trial concluded Friday. He’s accused of gunning down his wife Maggie Murdaugh and his 22-year-old son, Paul Murdaugh, June 7, 2021, on the family’s hunting estate known as Moselle.
Lead prosecutor Creighton Waters has argued Murdaugh committed the heinous killings to divert attention from his decade-long financial schemes, including embezzling millions from his law firms and clients.
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The defense has portrayed the disbarred attorney as a loving family man incapable of inflicting such gruesome injuries on his beloved wife and son.
The Walkers aren’t particularly interested in the details of what has become the biggest trial in South Carolina’s history since Susan Smith was convicted of drowning her two sons.
“I really don’t pay that much attention to it,” Laura Walker said. “My husband and I are extremely busy.”
Murdaugh’s team wasn’t the only party interested in the opulent digs. “
The other side had called on this property too,” said Paul Walker. “It was the state attorney general’s office, but they were too late.”
State prosecutors and agents with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, based about 100 miles north in Columbia, ended up at the nicest hotel in town — a Hampton Inn and Suites renovated about five years ago.
The Eden estate, purchased by local real estate developer Boots Fishburne in the 1930s, sits directly across from where Paul Walker’s grandfather, a poor farmer, owned a plot of land.
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The Walkers purchased the property several years ago and painstakingly gutted and renovated each residence and an 8,000-square-foot barn used for wedding receptions. The venue has 77 weddings booked this year alone.
The property’s most magnificent home, the Manor House, overlooks a pool and a 27-acre lake with backlit fountains.
The imposing Mediterranean-style residence boasts crystal chandeliers, an onyx foyer and a 12-foot kitchen island.
The legal team’s sordid days turn into sumptuous nights with a live-in cook who prepares three meals a day.
“They’re probably all meeting at the Manor House, and that’s probably where she does most of the cooking,” Laura Walker said of the chef. “It’s a beautiful kitchen with a double oven and gas range.”
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The spread also features the rustic Tobacco Barn, which features whimsical fairy lights strung up over the bed in the master bedroom.
“The men like to stay there,” she added of her guests.
Privacy was of the utmost importance to Murdaugh’s team, and they requested that the back entrance remain locked for their stay.
They access the property through a wrought iron gate that opens on an enchanting road lined with live oaks draped in Spanish moss.
It’s unclear how Murdaugh, who has claimed he’s broke, is paying Harpootlian, a Democratic state senator, and Griffin, whose team’s housing tab has already surpassed $60,000.
The experience for the approximately 16 employees of the state isn’t quite as glamorous. They are sharing the Hampton Inn and Suites with more than 30 members of the press, including Fox News Digital.
The Hampton Inn, whose rooms either overlook I-95 or the parking lot, isn’t cheap, either. Surging demand has sent their nightly rate to approximately $300.
But Murdaugh’s legal team may soon be joining their opposition at the two-star hotel if the trial stretches into next month.
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They have to vacate Eden at Gracefield by the end of February for a wedding scheduled for the first week of March.
“They know this. They’re going to have to find somewhere else to stay,” Laura Walker told Fox News Digital. “I’m not going to cancel someone’s wedding. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”