The scheme involved the hit man shooting Murdaugh while he changed a tire by the side of the road on September 4th. But when the attempt failed and the bullet only grazed his head, Murdaugh called 911 for help.
His attorneys argued on NBC's "Today"that Murdaugh was severely depressed over the murders of his wife and son and has also been battling a years-long drug addiction. After trying to "do something to protect" his surviving son, he developed the hit man scheme as he thought his insurance policy had a suicide clause.
"On September 4, it became clear Alex believed that ending his life was his only option. Today, he knows that's not true," read a statement from his lawyers. "It was an attempt on his part to do something to protect his child."
They also argued Curtis Edward Smith, the man accused of shooting Murdaugh, was one of several acquaintances who took advantage of the lawyer's mental illness and addiction.
"For the last 20 years, there have been many people feeding his addiction to opioids," continued the statement. "During that time, these individuals took advantage of his addiction and his ability to pay substantial funds for illegal drugs. One of those individuals took advantage of his mental illness and agreed to take Alex's life, by shooting him in the head."
On Tuesday, Smith was charged with assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
Police said Murdaugh provided the gun that Smith used in the shooting, while Smith admitted to being present at the shooting and of disposing of the gun. According to TODAY, Murdaugh once represented Smith in court, back in 2013.
Murdaugh's lawyer Richard Harpootlian also told NBC that his client was cooperating with police because he "didn’t want law enforcement to spend time on this fake crime" instead of on his wife and son's unsolved murder case.
Murdaugh found his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul, shot dead outside their home in Islandton, S.C. in June. Police have yet to name any suspects in their deaths, which have been classified as investigators. Harpootlian, however, believes "we'll know this week whether the one suspect we're look at bears further scrutiny."
Meanwhile, the hit man scheme fallout comes as Murduagh faces other legal challenges: his law firm accused him of misappropriating funds. Two days after the failed attempt at this life, Murdaugh released a statement saying his law license has been suspended.
"The murders of my wife and son have caused an incredibly difficult time in my life," he shared in the statement. "I have made a lot of decisions that I truly regret. I'm resigning from my law firm and entering rehab after a long battle that has been exacerbated by these murders. I am immensely sorry to everyone I've hurt including my family, friends and colleagues. I ask for prayers as I rehabilitate myself and my relationships."
Although Murdaugh has yet to be arrested, Harpootlian said he expects Murdaugh will eventually be charged in the conspiracy case.