Andy Moorman felt the world come to a standstill as he was filling up his car with gas.
This was back in March 2019. The now-former deputy chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina was at a gas station in the city of Florence. He’d just walked out of the federal courthouse next door.
At first, as Moorman pulled his car up to the gas pump, he wasn’t fully registering the significance of the moment. Minutes earlier, a case on which Moorman had been working for more than three years had reached its conclusion. Nine defendants, the majority of them members of a national criminal drug trafficking gang, had just received sentences totaling nearly six decades in prison. Moorman was now putting some gas in his tank before driving back to his family in Greenville.
“And then… I don’t even know how to describe it,” Moorman says now, sitting in the office of Moorman Law Firm, the private practice he started in December. “A ‘let down’ is not the right word. It was more… a pause, I guess. The world paused around me. I’d lived with this case for three years, and now it was over. In that pause, I thought: What next?”
It was a moment that Moorman would look to as the starting point of a new phase in his life.
Now that he’s gone into private practice, Moorman is on the other side of the law, representing individuals in criminal cases.
But for more than 10 years, he had worked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina, investigating and prosecuting sophisticated drug trafficking organizations operating in South Carolina and across the nation.
Wiretaps, surveillance, gang takedowns — it was the stuff of TV shows, albeit “much more logical, orderly and efficient” than what “Law & Order” viewers are used to, Moorman says.
Working for the United States was “tremendously rewarding,” he says, but it often meant he had to spend days away from his wife and young children. The cases he prosecuted also affected his perspective on life, as he had a firsthand view of the devastation caused by the illegal drug market.
“You cannot accurately estimate the damage it causes,” he says.
But Moorman still believes people are ultimately good, if prone to weakness. To affirm that, he looks to his family and friends, the blessings in his own life, as well as the agents and other lawyers he’s worked alongside during his career.
“I think a lot of people have this idea that all lawyers are these slick-talking, selfish people,” Moorman says. “I can say the vast majority of lawyers I’ve met really truly care about what they’re doing.”