Sunday , 24 September 2023
Alex Murdaugh news: Killer’s financial trial date set as he appears in court for first time since murder case

Alex Murdaugh news: 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.


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


Prosecutor: Don’t be fooled by Fleming’s claims he was fooled by Murdaugh

In the sentencing hearing, prosecutor Creighton Waters urged the judge not to be fooled by Fleming’s claims that he was fooled by Murdaugh into stealing.

Mr Waters said that Murdaugh “recruited” Fleming to steal from the families of Hakeen Pinckney and Gloria Satterfield.

The attorney was hired to represent the families and then “behind the scenes colluded with the defendant”.

“What Mr Fleming wants the court to believe is… that he was tricked and fooled by Mr Murdaugh like everyone else,” said Mr Waters.

However, he said that Fleming was stealing from his clients even before these cases with Murdaugh.

“One of the things we uncovered was that Mr Fleming had been stealing checks from his clients all the way back to 2012,” he said.

“So when he tries to say I stole a little bit but was hoo-dood by Mr Murdaugh” he asked the court not to believe it.

Rachel Sharp14 September 2023 16:40


Happening now: Cory Fleming in court for sentencing

Cory Fleming, a former attorney and alleged accomplice in Murdaugh’s financial fraud schemes, is being sentenced on Thursday on a string of financial fraud charges.

Fleming pleaded guilty to a string of 23 state charges last month.

The charges – which include breach of trust with fraudulent intent, money laundering, computer crimes, and criminal conspiracy – stem from Murdaugh’s scheme to steal money from the estate of his dead housekeeper Gloria Satterfield.

He was also involved in stealing money from the family of Hakeem Pinckney – a man whose family Murdaugh represented after he was killed in a car crash.

Prior to the state case, Fleming also pleaded guilty to federal charges in May.

Last month, he was sentenced to nearly four years in prison on the charges and is currently serving his sentence.

Rachel Sharp14 September 2023 16:31


No trial date set for Russell Laffitte

Judge Clifton Newman said that he will defer the decision on setting a date for Russell Laffitte’s trial.

Following the back and forth from the defence and the state – and the ongoing matters in Laffitte’s federal case – the judge said that he would make a ruling at a later date.

The court has gone on a five-minute recess.

Rachel Sharp14 September 2023 16:20


South Carolina State Rep Todd Rutherford speaks to court

South Carolina State Rep Todd Rutherford is one of Laffitte’s attorneys.

He told the judge that there are 41,000 documents in the case and so there is no way they can prepare quickly for a trial.

He is instead asking the judge to delay a trial until the fall of 2024.

Before Laffitte’s hearing, Mr Rutherford was seen standing and shaking hands with Murdaugh as the convicted killer entered the courtroom.

Rachel Sharp14 September 2023 16:14


Court back in session: Russell Laffitte back at defence table

Russell Laffitte is now back at the defence table for his status hearing.

His attorney told the judge that Laffitte is appealing his federal conviction and that hearings in that case are likely to be set for October or November.

“I don’t see physically how I can try this case with this client this fall – not only with this appeal but with this discovery,” he said.

Laffitte hired new attorneys in January following his November conviction in federal court.

The state is pushing for the trial to take place this year.

Rachel Sharp14 September 2023 16:07

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