Alex Murdaugh trial live: Killer’s financial trial date set as he appears in court for first time since murder case

Court clerk’s co-author responds to Murdaugh’s jury tampering allegations

A smiling Alex Murdaugh appeared in court today to face a string of financial fraud charges – in what marks his first court appearance since he was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul.

The convicted killer attended a status conference before Judge Clifton Newman in Beaufort County on Thursday morning where his financial crimes trial date was set for 27 November.

The case will focus on the millions of dollars he stole from the family of his dead housekeeper Gloria Satterfield – part of the 101 state charges over his alleged financial crimes.

Two former friends and alleged co-conspirators in his financial crimes – former Palmetto State Bank CEO Russell Laffitte and former attorney Cory Fleming – are also appearing in court.

The court appearance comes as the deadline is looming for the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office to respond to a bombshell motion filed by Murdaugh’s attorneys last week in which they demanded a new trial and accused Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill of pressuring jurors to return a guilty verdict.

The AG’s office had 10 days to respond to this motion – giving them until Friday.


Defence speaks for Fleming ahead of sentencing

Defence attorney Debbie Barbier speaks for Fleming and disputes some of the details of Mr Waters brought up — specifically that her client did not know Murdaugh was stealing all of the money and that he has acknowledged his guilt.

She argues that no one should be punished twice for the same crime.

Oliver O’Connell14 September 2023 18:09


Prosecution asks for consecutive sentencing for Fleming

Prosecutor Creighton Waters wants consecutive sentencing for Fleming as independent accountability is warranted.

He argues that lawyers should not get “one-stop shopping” for victimising multiple clients over a decade, alluding to the federal sentencing.

Oliver O’Connell14 September 2023 17:52


After Mr Bland wraps up, Justin Bamberg addresses the court. He is the attorney for Pamela Pinckney, the mother of Hakeem Pinckney (see below) who was left quadriplegic after a crash, and niece Natasha Thomas who lost vision and suffered extensive injuries. Mrs Pinckney was also horribly injured and is still dealing with her own injuries.

Fleming was indicted and pleaded guilty in federal court for the Satterfield case but not for the Pinckney case due to the statute of limitations. There has been no punishment or accountability in the Pinckney case so far.

Mr Bamberg gives powerful testimony about the true long-lasting impact of Fleming’s crimes. Believes Fleming is regretful but not remorseful. He asks for stiff punishment for both the Satterfield and Pinckney crimes.

Oliver O’Connell14 September 2023 17:47


What happened to Gloria Satterfield?

Gloria Satterfield died in February 2018 following a mysterious trip and fall at the Murdaugh family home on their 1,700-acre Moselle estate in South Carolina.

Satterfield worked for the Murdaugh family for more than 20 years as their housekeeper.

She was found at the bottom of the steps leading into the family’s home one morning in February 2018.

She never resumed consciousness and died from her injuries three weeks later on 26 February.

At the time, Murdaugh claimed that she had tripped over the family’s dogs and hit her head, and her death was regarded as an accidental fall.

However, her death certificate cited her manner of death as “natural” and no autopsy was ever carried out.

Murdaugh claimed he would bring the wrongful death suit against himself on behalf of Satterfield’s sons.

In reality, the insurance company paid out $4m in a wrongful death settlement over Satterfield’s death. Murdaugh and Fleming then allegedly stole the money for themselves with the housekeeper’s sons not getting a dime.

Gloria Satterfield died in a ‘trip and fall’ at the Murdaugh home in 2018


Rachel Sharp14 September 2023 17:30


Eric Bland, attorney for the Satterfields tells the judge that he will hear how good a guy Fleming is and notes that good guys sometimes commit crimes. He says the judge must sentence the crime as well as the man as the law profession has been stained by his action.

“I’ve been suing other lawyers for 30 years. Never seen a case where the lawyers took every single dollar. But that’s what Fleming and Murdaugh did. Every single dollar.”

Mr Bland goes over a number of other examples of violations and irregularities in how Fleming handled and filed the Satterfield case to show the depth of the conspiracy and the criminal behaviour.

He says Fleming and Murdaugh sat on the $4.3m settlements knowing that Gloria Satterfield’s son Brian, a vulnerable adult, was being put out on the street because his mom’s trailer was being foreclosed on.

Mr Bland calls it “blatant thievery”.

Oliver O’Connell14 September 2023 17:30


Attorney Eric Bland says profession is hurt by Fleming’s crimes

“The profession we love has been stained,” said Mr Bland, who represents the Satterfield family.

“Mr Fleming knew exactly what he was doing. He is a plaintiff lawyer… it is impossible.”

Rachel Sharp14 September 2023 17:18


Satterfield family addresses court

Tony Satterfield – the son of Gloria Satterfield – is addressing the court.

“I still forgive Mr Fleming,” he said.

Satterfield’s sister also addressed the court and said that the family forgives Fleming.

“Gloria did not die in vain as her case brought out other corruption and dishonest misdeeds being done to others,” she said, adding that it brought corruption “to light”.

Rachel Sharp14 September 2023 17:14


What happened to the Pinckney family?

The Pinckney family were in a car wreck in 2009, leaving Pamela suffering ongoing chronic injuries and her son Hakeem paralysed. Hakeem later died from his injuries.

Following the devastating crash, Murdaugh and Fleming represented the family.

The attorneys ultimately stole around $1m by misappropriating funds from settlements.

Among the stolen money, Fleming and Murdaugh used some funds to take a private plane to the College World Series together to party.


Rachel Sharp14 September 2023 17:10


The fake Forge scheme

Murdaugh set up a fake firm called Forge – supposed to imitate a legitimate company under the same name – where he and his accomplices siphoned off money from clients.

For the Satterfield family, Murdaugh and Fleming secured payouts from insurance companies Lloyd’s of London and Nautilus Insurance Company and then sent almost $4m in stolen money to the fake company.

“It was a shakedown, plain and simple,” Mr Waters said of Fleming and Murdaugh’s treatment of the Satterfield family.

Rachel Sharp14 September 2023 17:01


Fleming used money he stole from Pinckney family to fly on private plane to party

Cory Fleming used some of the money he stole from a client to fly on a private plane to party, said Mr Waters.

The Pinckney family were in a car wreck in 2009. The devastating crash led to Hakeen’s death and Pamela’s ongoing injuries.

Mr Waters said that, after representing the family, it “doesn’t take [Fleming] long to steal some checks and fly on a private plane to the college World Series.”

“He bills it as a medical expense – it was a private plane to go party with Ms Pinckney’s money,” he said.

Rachel Sharp14 September 2023 16:47

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