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Alex Murdaugh’s demand for new trial over jury tampering claims awaiting response as deadline looms – live

The deadline for the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office to respond to a bombshell motion filed by Alex Murdaugh’s attorneys last week arrives on Friday, forcing the state’s AG to respond to the convicted murderer’s demand for a new trial after his legal team accused Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill of pressuring jurors to return a guilty verdict.

A smiling Murdaugh appeared in court on Thursday for the first time since he was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul, this time to face a string of financial fraud charges.

The killer attended a status conference before Judge Clifton Newman in Beaufort County, where a 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 in response to his alleged financial crimes.

Two former friends and alleged co-conspirators in the case also appeared in court on Thursday, former Palmetto State Bank CEO Russell Laffitte and former attorney Cory Fleming, the latter sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Key points

  • Deadline looms for prosecutors to respond Alex Murdaugh’s jury tampering allegations

  • Murdaugh appears in court for first time since trial sentencing

  • Trial date set for killer’s financial crimes case

  • Corey Fleming sentenced to 10 years in jail after entering guilty plea

  • Co-conspirator Russell Laffitte also in court

SEE IT: Netflix drops trailer for new season of ‘Murdaugh Murders’

20:00 , Andrea Cavallier

Netflix dropped the trailer for season two of “Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal” on the day Alex Murdaugh appeared in court for the first time since he was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of his wife and son.

Season one focused heavily on the boat accident and the fallout  while season two will tell of the June 2021 killings of Paul and Maggie.

The new season can be streamed starting on Netflix on 20 September.

What happened at the sentencing of Murdaugh’s friend Cory Fleming?

19:00 , Andrea Cavallier

Cory Fleming, a college friend of Murdaugh’s, appeared in the same Beaufort County courtroom later that day where he was sentenced.

Fleming got a 10-year state prison term that will run alongside a federal sentence and another 10-year state prison term that will run consecutively.

He had pleaded guilty last month to 23 state charges that he helped steal millions of dollars in settlements from the sons of the family’s housekeeper Gloria Satterfield.

The former attorney had recently been sentenced to nearly four years in prison on similar federal charges.

State prosecutor Creighton Waters said Fleming “should not get buy-one-get-one-free” and sought consecutive state sentences. The state court needs to have a say, too, he said.

The defense said Fleming’s 29 years of upstanding legal work documented by other lawyers’ testimony should not be overshadowed by a “lapse in judgment.”

Fleming apologized to the families and profession whose trust he said he betrayed.

“Despite knowing this firsthand, I made some very bad decisions and broke the law,” Fleming added.

 (Law&Crime)
(Law&Crime)

WATCH: South Carolina state rep greets Murdaugh with a handshake

18:00 , Andrea Cavallier

Some social media users were outraged watching Alex Murdaugh’s first court appearance since his double murder conviction when he was warmly greeted by a South Carolina state representative.

Democrat Todd Rutherford, who represents South Carolina House District 74, and is the leader of the party in that chamber, stood, smiled and warmly shook the hand of Murdaugh.

Here’s what happened at Alex Murdaugh’s hearing on financial crimes

17:00 , Andrea Cavallier

On Thursday, Alex Murdaugh appeared publicly for the first time since his murder trial at a state hearing over the slew of financial crimes.

Murdaugh smiled in court as he sat in an orange jumpsuit, while he occasionally whispered with his attorneys.

Judge Clifton Newman, along with the agreement of the prosecution and defense agreed that Murdaugh will return to court on 27 November for his trial on some of the 101 total charges brought against him.

Murdaugh is expected to plead guilty to theft and wire fraud — possibly marking the first time he will have legally taken responsibility for any of the criminal counts that have piled up since he first reported his family members’ deaths over two years ago.

 (AP)
(AP)

Clock is ticking for AG to respond to Murdaugh jury tampering allegations

16:00 , Andrea Cavallier

The deadline for the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office to respond to a bombshell motion filed by Alex Murdaugh’s attorneys last week has arrived.

Now the clock is ticking for the AG to respond to the convicted murderer’s demand for a new trial after his legal team accused Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill of pressuring jurors to return a guilty verdict.

The Attorney General’s office must file a reply to the allegations by 15 September.

Alex Murdaugh is getting the Hollywood treatment - in a new Lifetime movie starring Bill Pullman

15:30 , Joe Sommerlad

Six months after former attorney Alex Murdaugh was convicted of murder, the Lifetime Network announced a new movie about the once prominent South Carolina dynasty that came crashing down following a fatal boating accident, a slew of financial crimes and the brutal slayings of his wife and son.

Lifetime’s 500th original movie Murdaugh Murders: The Movie is set to air in a two-night event next month and stepping into the role of the convicted killer is 69-year-old actor Bill Pullman.

First-look images from the movie obtained by Entertainment Weekly - and posted to social media by Lifetime - show a chilling Pullman, his reddish-blonde slicked back, violently grabbing actor Curtis Tweedie, who is portraying his slain son Paul Murdaugh. Lauren Robek plays his wife Maggie.

Andrea Cavallier has more.

Alex Murdaugh is getting the Hollywood treatment - in a new Lifetime movie

Another twist in the Alex Murdaugh double murder case. Did the clerk tamper with the jury?

14:30 , Joe Sommerlad

Alex Murdaugh's double murder case has been full of twists and turns: How did a dog crack the case? Where are the bloody clothes and weapons? And where did all the money Murdaugh is accused of stealing go?

But one of the biggest surprises came on Tuesday, six months after Murdaugh was convicted of killing his wife and son.

Murdaugh's lawyers filed court papers saying he deserves a new trial because elected Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill allegedly tampered with the jury that found him guilty earlier this year.

Prosecutors had 10 days to respond – and that deadline that expires on Friday.

Here's a look at what the next chapter of Murdaugh's case could look like.

Another twist in the Alex Murdaugh double murder case. Did the clerk tamper with the jury?

Full story: Murdaugh friend and alleged accomplice sentenced for financial fraud crimes

13:30 , Andrea Cavallier

Former attorney Cory Fleming was sentenced to back-to-back 10-year sentences in prison on charges that he conspired with his longtime friend Alex Murdaugh to steal millions of dollars from trusting clients.

Fleming previously pleaded guilty to the financial fraud charges that stem from Murdaugh’s alleged scheme to steal money from the estate of his dead housekeeper Gloria Satterfield. Satterfield died in a fall on the Murdaugh property in 2018.

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 in 2009.

While Fleming knew Murdaugh was asking him to do wrong, he previously said he didn’t realise the depth of his old friend’s depravity.

Alex Murdaugh’s friend and alleged accomplice sentenced on financial fraud charges

12:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Outrage as South Carolina lawmaker stands to shake hands with convicted killer Alex Murdaugh

11:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Social media users were outraged watching Alex Murdaugh’s first court appearance since his double murder conviction when he was warmly greeted by a South Carolina state representative.

Mandy Matney, who has closely tracked Murdaugh’s case for her podcast, screenshotted the moment and was incredulous on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

“WOW.... this is @RepRutherford — who works for the PEOPLE OF SC — STANDING UP TO GREET murderer Alex Murdaugh in court today,” she wrote.

“These people are unreal. They don’t even hide their gross alliances. VOTE THEM OUT.”

Democrat Todd Rutherford, who represents South Carolina House District 74, and is the leader of the party in that chamber, stood, smiled and warmly shook the hand of Murdaugh.

Continued...

Smiling Alex Murdaugh appears in court in shackles

09:30 , Andrea Cavallier

Alex Murdaugh appeared before a judge in a South Carolina courtroom on financial fraud charges for the first time since he was hauled away after being sentenced to life in prison for the brutal murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul earlier this year.

The disgraced attorney was shackled and handcuffed but smiled as he entered the courtroom in Beaufort County on Thursday before he shuffled to the defence table wearing a bright orange jumpsuit.

Murdaugh shook hands with members of his defence team and to the shock of many online, state Rep Todd Rutherford stood up and greeted the convicted killer with a handshake. Rutherford is one of the attorneys representing former Palmetto State Bank CEO Russell Laffitte - and alleged co-conspirator in Murdaugh’s financial crimes who is also appearing at the hearing.

Smiling Alex Murdaugh appears in court in shackles as trial date set

Murdaugh trial court clerk ducks question about whether she tampered with jury

07:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca “Becky” Hill had nothing to say when she was spotted on Thursday for the first time since being accused of tampering with the jury in Alex Murdaugh’s murder trial.

Ms Hill clutched her cell phone, a drink and a stack of papers in one hand as she crossed the street in Walterboro, South Carolina, around 10am and walked into the courthouse through a back gate.

In a video posted by Fox News, a photographer could be heard asking her, “Did you tamper with the jurors?”

The court clerk glanced over at the photographer, but ignored the comment and kept walking.

Continued...

Alex Murdaugh is getting the Hollywood treatment

05:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Six months after former attorney Alex Murdaugh was convicted of murder, the Lifetime Network announced a new movie about the once prominent South Carolina dynasty that came crashing down following a fatal boating accident, a slew of financial crimes and the brutal slayings of his wife and son.

Lifetime’s 500th original movie Murdaugh Murders: The Movie is set to air in a two-night event next month and stepping into the role of the convicted killer is 69-year-old actor Bill Pullman.

First-look images from the movie obtained by Entertainment Weekly - and posted to social media by Lifetime - show a chilling Pullman, his reddish-blonde slicked back, violently grabbing actor Curtis Tweedie, who is portraying his slain son Paul Murdaugh. Lauren Robek plays his wife Maggie.

Alex Murdaugh is getting the Hollywood treatment - in a new Lifetime movie

Why is the juror with the eggs back in the picture?

03:30 , Rachel Sharp

Juror number 785 remains something of a mystery.

She has never gone public with her identity and never broken her silence by speaking to the press.

But, the mystery juror has caused quite a stir in the so-called “trial of the century”.

Juror number 785 first hit headlines back in March when she was ousted from Alex Murdaugh’s high-profile double-murder trial just hours before deliberations began.

After sitting through six weeks of graphic testimony about the slayings of Murdaugh’s wife Maggie and son Paul, Judge Clifton Newman dismissed the juror for apparently speaking about the case to at least three people.

If her dismissal wasn’t enough to shock the nation glued to the notorious trial, the juror also gained infamy due to a comedic moment where she asked to retrieve a dozen eggs from the jury room.

After that, juror 785 earned a new alias as the “egg juror”.

Now, six months after the trial concluded with Murdaugh’s conviction, the mystery juror is back in the spotlight once again – this time finding herself at the very heart of the convicted killer’s bombshell bid for a new trial.

Alex Murdaugh’s infamous ‘egg juror’ is at the centre of his bid for a new trial

Did the clerk tamper with the jury?

02:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Murdaugh‘s double murder case has been full of twists and turns: How did a dog crack the case? Where are the bloody clothes and weapons? And where did all the money Murdaugh is accused of stealing go?

But one of the biggest surprises came on Tuesday, six months after Murdaugh was convicted of killing his wife and son.

Murdaugh’s lawyers filed court papers saying he deserves a new trial because elected Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill allegedly tampered with the jury that found him guilty earlier this year. Prosecutors have 10 days to respond.

Here’s a look at what the next chapter of Murdaugh’s case could look like.

Murdaugh accuses ‘fame seeking’ court clerk of jury tampering at his murder trial

Friday 15 September 2023 00:30 , Rachel Sharp

Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh has accused a South Carolina court clerk of tampering with the jury at his high-profile double murder trial – because she was driven by fame and a desire to secure a book deal.

The disgraced legal scion and double murderer filed a motion on Tuesday requesting a new trial on the basis that Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill allegedly pressured jurors on the case to return a guilty verdict against him.

In the motion, Murdaugh’s attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin claim that Ms Hill “tampered with the jury by advising them not to believe Murdaugh’s testimony and other evidence presented by the defense, pressuring them to reach a quick guilty verdict, and even misrepresenting critical and material information to the trial judge in her campaign to remove a juror she believed to be favorable to the defense”.

Alex Murdaugh accuses ‘fame seeking’ court clerk of jury tampering at murder trial

ICYMI: Buster Murdaugh breaks silence

Thursday 14 September 2023 23:30 , Rachel Sharp

Buster Murdaugh has broken his silence to deny any involvement in the mysterious killing of gay teenager Stephen Smith – and insist that he still believes his father is innocent of the murders of his mother and brother.

Alex Murdaugh’s only surviving son spoke out in his first TV interview since his family was propelled to national attention, for the new three-part FOX Nation documentary “The Fall of the House of Murdaugh”.

In the interview, Buster slammed rumours that he too could have been involved in a heinous murder – that of 19-year-old Smith in July 2015 – and offered an alibi for his whereabouts on the night the teenager was killed.

Read on...

Buster Murdaugh breaks silence on Stephen Smith death and insists father is innocent

Murdaugh set to plead guilty to federal financial charges

Thursday 14 September 2023 22:32 , Oliver O'Connell

Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh has agreed to plead guilty to stealing millions of dollars from his clients, according to court records.

The disbarred South Carolina attorney requested a “Change of Plea” this week after initially entering a “not guilty” plea on the 22 federal financial charges back in May.

An indictment alleged that Murdaugh, 55, engaged in three different schemes to obtain money and property from his personal injury clients, according to a previous release from the US Attorney’s Office.

If Murdaugh does not change his mind before appearing before a judge on 21 September in Charleston, it would mark the first time he has admitted guilt for any crime in court.

He is currently serving a life sentence for killing his wife and son. But he insisted from the witness stand at his trial that he did not kill them and is appealing his double murder conviction.

Alex Murdaugh set to plead guilty to federal financial charges

What was Fleming’s federal sentence after he pleased guilty?

Thursday 14 September 2023 22:00 , AP

A longtime friend of disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh was sentenced Tuesday to nearly four years in prison for scheming to steal millions of dollars in insurance settlements from the sons of Murdaugh’s dead housekeeper.

Cory Fleming said he knew the lawyer now serving a life sentence for killing his wife and son was going to steal something from the family, but he thought it might be $100,000 — not the entire $4 million-plus award.

Federal judge Richard Gergel sentenced Fleming to 46 months in prison, which was the lower end of the sentencing guidelines. Fleming, 54, turned himself in to federal marshals and immediately began serving his time.

Fleming and his law firm made about $675,000 over the settlement, which has since been paid back, according to court records.

Fleming is the second associate of Murdaugh sent to prison since investigators began scrutinizing every aspect of his life in June 2021 after his wife and son were shot to death at their South Carolina home. Murdaugh was convicted of their murders and is serving life in state prison.

Banker Russell Laffitte was sentenced to seven years in prison earlier this month after pleading guilty to helping Murdaugh steal money from settlements the now disbarred attorney got for clients after vehicle wrecks or work injuries. Laffitte is appealing his conviction and sentence.

While Fleming knew Murdaugh was asking him to do wrong, he said he didn’t realize the depth of his old friend’s depravity.

How does this compare to Lafitte’s sentencing?

Thursday 14 September 2023 21:40 , Josh Marcus

Russell Laffitte, formerly the highly regarded CEO of South Carolina’s Palmetto State Bank, was sentenced on Tuesday to seven years in federal prison and millions in restitution payments for his role in helping disgraced legal scion steal Alex Murdaugh large sums of money from his clients and law firm.

It’s the latest set of charges against Murdaugh and his inner circle, after the former attorney was convicted of murdering his wife and son in March.

Prosecutors said the banker helped Murdaugh steal from his law firm PMPED and its clients through elaborate forms of financial misconduct, including setting up conservatorships for former clients then allowing Murdaugh to plunder them.

“Today just goes to show that nobody is above the law,” Justin Bamberg, a lawyer representing some of Laffitte’s victims, told South Carolina’s The State newspaper on Tuesday.

The former banker, the heir of a prominent local family, allegedly pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars himself in payments and untaxable fees managing clients’ settlement money.

Continued...

Murdaugh friend and alleged accomplice sentenced for financial fraud crimes

Thursday 14 September 2023 21:20 , Andrea Cavallier

Former attorney Corey Fleming was sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges that he conspired with his longtime friend Alex Murdaugh to steal millions of dollars from trusting clients.

Fleming previously pleaded guilty to the financial fraud charges that stem from Murdaugh’s alleged scheme to steal money from the estate of his dead housekeeper Gloria Satterfield. Satterfield died in a fall on the Murdaugh property in 2018.

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 in 2009.

While Fleming knew Murdaugh was asking him to do wrong, he previously said he didn’t realise the depth of his old friend’s depravity.

Alex Murdaugh’s friend and alleged accomplice sentenced on financial fraud charges

Fleming sentenced to 10 years in prison

Thursday 14 September 2023 20:59 , Oliver O'Connell

Judge Newman hands down Fleming’s sentence.

For the Satterfield case: 5 years insurance fraud, 10 years breach of trust, 10 years money laundering, 5 years breach of trust, 5 years money laundering, 5 years computer crime.

They will run concurrently for a total of 10 years.

For the Pinckney case: 10 years, consecutive to the federal sentence he's currently serving (3 years, 10 months), concurrent to other sentences.

There will be a restitution hearing at a later date.

Thursday 14 September 2023 20:54 , Oliver O'Connell

Judge Newman says leniency and mercy aren't his responsibility and notes Fleming faces a total of 195 years in prison potentially.

Fleming is called up to the bench for sentencing.

“My heart bleeds for you because I have no doubt of the quality of human being you are ... but you must suffer the consequences of your actions.”

Thursday 14 September 2023 20:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Judge Newman says the character presentations on Fleming’s behalf today were inspiring.

He says it reminded him of a revival at his church and funerals he’s had to attend “particularly within the last year”. Judge Newman’s son passed away from a cardiac issue shortly before the Murdaugh trial.

Judge Newman addresses court

Thursday 14 September 2023 20:47 , Oliver O'Connell

Judge Newman says he admires and respects Judge Gergel from the federal case, but will not take into consideration anything from his court regarding Fleming’s sentencing.

The judge notes this is the second time in his 47-year legal career he has had to sentence a lawyer. The first was Alex Murdaugh earlier this year.

Judge Newman says this is “unprecedented, unimaginable” and that he cannot “imagine anyone going to a lawyer in South Carolina at this moment in time and having complete trust”.

Prosecution gives rebuttal

Thursday 14 September 2023 20:44 , Oliver O'Connell

Prosecutor Creighton Waters offers the court a rebuttal arguing there should be significant accountability in this case.

He says Ms Barbier in her conclusion left out the fact that Fleming only changed his tune once he was caught red-handed in a lie.

Mr Waters adds that in the federal case, the government had essentially given Fleming a deal by allowing him to plead to only a single charge with a low sentence.

Thursday 14 September 2023 20:31 , Oliver O'Connell

Defence attorney Debbie Barbier concludes with her own remarks and asks Judge Newman for a concurrent 46-month sentence to run alongside the federal sentence from his guilty plea in that case.

Fleming addresses court ahead of sentencing

Thursday 14 September 2023 20:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Fleming addresses the court.

He notes how many years he spent practicing law in the very courtroom in Beaufort County in which he will now be sentenced. He says he knew the consequences of what he did and places blame on no one else.

Fleming says he has a profound disappointment in himself that he will carry the rest of his life.

He thanks the Satterfield and Pinckney families for their forgiveness and prayer and apologises to them again, repeating his federal court statements. He says they deserved better from him and that he failed them and feels empty from the betrayal.

Fleming also apologises to fellow lawyers for the harm he has caused to the profession, especially to his former partners for the pain and suffering he caused them.

He also apologises to the Beaufort community, and thanks them for standing up for him.

Addressing Judge Newman he says he knows he deserves punishment and will spend the rest of his life trying to apply the lessons he's learned.

Fleming concludes by noting his faith and trust in the legal system despite his betrayal of it.

Thursday 14 September 2023 20:22 , Oliver O'Connell

More friends of Fleming speak out in his support ahead of the sentencing.

They describe him as a devoted father and loyal friend, a supporter of the YMCA, and always willing to help.

One longtime friend recalls his help when her son was robbed and assaulted. Judge Newman asks for how long the perpetrators were sentenced. She says it was 15-20 years and one is getting out soon.

A former tenant says Fleming went from being a landlord to being regarded as family and that she had asked to speak today rather than Fleming asking her to be there. He always made sure she had a roof over her head.

Thursday 14 September 2023 20:04 , Oliver O'Connell

The court first heard from a fellow lawyer who recalled Ms Pinckney forgiving Fleming at his federal sentencing and that he responded: “Thank you, I don’t deserve it.”

He emphasises that Fleming is contrite.

The next speaker is a former paralegal of Fleming’s who emotionally recalls their time working together and their shared faith.

Court resumes

Thursday 14 September 2023 19:54 , Oliver O'Connell

Court is back in session with Judge Newman back on the bench.

He will now hear character references from friends and family of Fleming and then a statement from him.

Thursday 14 September 2023 19:21 , Oliver O'Connell

Court breaks for lunch

Thursday 14 September 2023 18:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The court breaks for lunch.

Fleming will address the court and others will speak on his behalf when court resumes at 2.45pm

Thursday 14 September 2023 18:21 , Oliver O'Connell

Defence speaks for Fleming ahead of sentencing

Thursday 14 September 2023 18:09 , Oliver O'Connell

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.

Prosecution asks for consecutive sentencing for Fleming

Thursday 14 September 2023 17:52 , Oliver O'Connell

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.

Thursday 14 September 2023 17:47 , Oliver O'Connell

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.

What happened to Gloria Satterfield?

Thursday 14 September 2023 17:30 , Rachel Sharp

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

Thursday 14 September 2023 17:30 , Oliver O'Connell

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”.

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

Thursday 14 September 2023 17:18 , Rachel Sharp

“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.”

Satterfield family addresses court

Thursday 14 September 2023 17:14 , Rachel Sharp

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”.

What happened to the Pinckney family?

Thursday 14 September 2023 17:10 , Rachel Sharp

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.

Hakeem Pinckney (provided)
Hakeem Pinckney (provided)

The fake Forge scheme

Thursday 14 September 2023 17:01 , Rachel Sharp

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.

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

Thursday 14 September 2023 16:47 , Rachel Sharp

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.

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

Thursday 14 September 2023 16:40 , Rachel Sharp

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.

Happening now: Cory Fleming in court for sentencing

Thursday 14 September 2023 16:31 , Rachel Sharp

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.

No trial date set for Russell Laffitte

Thursday 14 September 2023 16:20 , Rachel Sharp

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.

South Carolina State Rep Todd Rutherford speaks to court

Thursday 14 September 2023 16:14 , Rachel Sharp

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.

Court back in session: Russell Laffitte back at defence table

Thursday 14 September 2023 16:07 , Rachel Sharp

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.

FULL STORY: Alex Murdaugh appears in court for first time since murder trial sentencing

Thursday 14 September 2023 16:00 , Rachel Sharp

Alex Murdaugh appeared before a judge in a South Carolina courtroom on Thursday for the first time since he was hauled away after being sentenced to life in prison for the brutal murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul earlier this year.

The disgraced attorney was shackled and handcuffed but smiled as he entered the courtroom in Beaufort County before he shuffled to the defence table wearing a bright orange jumpsuit.

Murdaugh once again stands before Judge Clifton Newman, who oversaw his murder trial back in March, but now faces a slew of financial fraud charges.

Judge Newman set Murdaugh’s trial date for November 27 on charges for allegedly stealing insurance payments meant for the family of his housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who died after a fall at the Murdaugh family property in 2018.

The Independent’s Andrea Cavallier has the story:

Alex Murdaugh appears in court for first time since murder trial sentencing

Murdaugh has left the courtroom

Thursday 14 September 2023 15:48 , Rachel Sharp

The convicted killer has now been escorted out of the courtroom.

A brief recess is under way before the other two hearings – of Corey Fleming and Russell Laffitte – will get under way.

Murdaugh financial crimes trial date set

Thursday 14 September 2023 15:40 , Rachel Sharp

Judge Clifton Newman has set Alex Murdaugh’s financial crimes trial for the end of the year.

He gave the defence and prosecution a choice of three dates.

The trial is set to begin on 27 November.

Murdaugh’s attorneys argued that a trial by the end of the year would be too soon – that they wouldn’t be able to prepare.

They also claimed that the state had pushed for the murder trial to take place first before the financial crimes case.

But the prosecution pushed back against this – pointing out that Murdaugh and his legal team waived his right to a speedy trial so the case ploughed ahead with speed.

Judge Newman’s sentencing comments resurface

Thursday 14 September 2023 15:35 , Rachel Sharp

Alex Murdaugh’s attorney Dick Harpootlian pointed to Judge Clifton Newman’s comments about the killer at his sentencing.

“I know you have to see Paul and Maggie at nighttime when you are attempting to go to sleep,” the judge said at Murdaugh’s sentencing.

“I’m sure they come and visit you ... They will continue to do so and will reflect on the last time they looked you in the eyes.”

Pointing to his comments, Mr Harpootlian asked the judge to put his own feelings aside as he makes decisions on the financial case.

“You obviously belieev he is guilty of that... but I will ask you to put those feelings aside.”

Murdaugh attorney argues financial trial should be pushed back – and brings up jury tampering claims

Thursday 14 September 2023 15:31 , Rachel Sharp

Alex Murdaugh’s attorney Dick Harpootlian is arguing that his financial fraud trial should be pushed back – as he brings up the jury tampering claims in the murder case.

“There has been more publicity than any case in this state and maybe in the country,” he said.

Because of the high-profile murder case, he asked that the judge put some time between that and the financial case.

“Why? What is the hurry?” he asked.

Mr Harpootlian also went off on a tangent about the jury tampering allegations the Murdaugh legal team has raised Colleton County Clerk Rebecca Hill.

He is arguing that a new trial cannot go ahead while those matters are still being investigated.

“That we could go forward with another trial while that matter is being litigated?” he said.

Judge Newman responded: “Probably not in Colleton County.”

Prosecutor: Murdaugh to face trial over 101 state charges

Thursday 14 September 2023 15:24 , Rachel Sharp

A smiling Alex Murdaugh entered the courtroom shackled and handcuffed while dressed in a bright orange jumpsuit.

The convicted killer smiled and shook hands with his defence as he sat at the defence table.

His hair was markedly longer than the shaven-headed look he sported after reporting to prison.

Mr Waters said that Murdaugh is facing 101 total financial fraud charges over almost $8.8m in losses.

The prosecutor said that the Gloria Satterfield case “represents the single greatest loss of all the cases” and so will be the main case they plan to take to trial.

LIVE NOW: Smiling Alex Murdaugh enters courtroom

Thursday 14 September 2023 15:19 , Rachel Sharp

Murdaugh (Law&Crime)
Murdaugh (Law&Crime)
Murdaugh (Law&Crime)
Murdaugh (Law&Crime)

Happening now: Russell Laffitte status hearing under way

Thursday 14 September 2023 15:17 , Rachel Sharp

The status hearing is under way for Russell Laffitte.

Laffitte is the former Palmetto State Bank CEO who is facing 21 state charges accused of conspiring with Murdaugh to misappropriate funds.

Prosecutor Creighton Waters said that the alleged loss from the charges is $1.8m.

Laffitte’s attorney began the hearing by saying he was seeking to severe the case from Murdaugh.

Judge Newman said that he wanted to set aside Laffitte’s case and hold Murdaugh’s hearing first.

Familiar faces from the Murdaugh saga reunite in court

Thursday 14 September 2023 15:07 , Rachel Sharp

Murdaugh’s attorneys Jim Griffin and Dick Harpootlian, prosecutor Creighton Waters, South Carolina attorney Eric Bland and members of the Satterfield family are all in court.

Russell Laffitte – former banker and Murdaugh friend – is currently sat at the defence table.

Judge Clifton Newman will preside over the hearings.

Russell Laffitte at defence table (Law & Crime)
Russell Laffitte at defence table (Law & Crime)

Happening now: Russell Laffitte is sitting at defence table

Thursday 14 September 2023 14:58 , Rachel Sharp

Laffitte is the former Palmetto State Bank CEO who is facing 21 state charges accused of conspiring with Murdaugh to misappropriate funds.

He is appearing today for a status hearing.

He was previously convicted in November of six federal charges including bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy in connection to Murdaugh’s alleged white collar financial fraud schemes and sentenced to seven years in federal prison. He is appealing the verdict.

His conviction came on the basis that he was Murdaugh’s co-defendant in his sprawling multi-million-dollar – and decade-long – schemes.

Laffitte – whose family launched Palmetto State Bank in 1907 and who like Murdaugh came from a prominent family in the Lowcountry – was fired from the bank as details of the alleged scheme came to light.

Murdaugh’s ties to courtroom revealed

Thursday 14 September 2023 14:51 , Rachel Sharp

This marks Alex Murdaugh’s first court – and public – appearance since his sentencing for the murders of his wife and son.

But, in another interesting detail, it transpires that the convicted killer and his slain son have another link to the courthouse where he will appear.

Paul Murdaugh appeared in Beaufort County Court back in 2019 when he was arraigned on charges over the boating death of Mallory Beach.

Paul was murdered before the case went to trial.

Paul Murdaugh in mug shot (South Carolina Attorney General’s office)
Paul Murdaugh in mug shot (South Carolina Attorney General’s office)

Meanwhile... in the jury tampering saga

Thursday 14 September 2023 14:36 , Rachel Sharp

Eric Bland, an attorney representing the families of Gloria Satterfield and Stephen Smith, has announced that he is now representing a fourth juror from Alex Murdaugh’s murder trial.

Happening now: Murdaugh attorneys and prosecutors arrive at court

Thursday 14 September 2023 14:17 , Rachel Sharp

Dick Harpootlian in the courtroom (Law & Crime)
Dick Harpootlian in the courtroom (Law & Crime)

Murdaugh faces more than 100 financial crime charges

Thursday 14 September 2023 14:00 , Rachel Sharp

Alex Murdaugh faces more than 100 charges in both state and federal courts over a string of alleged financial crimes.

His court appearance on Thursday relates to the state charges – which include stealing millions from the family of his dead housekeeper.

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 – the same property where Murdaugh murdered his wife and son three years later.

Satterfield, who worked for the family for more than 20 years, was found at the bottom of the steps leading into the family’s home. 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.

Following her death, insurance company Nautilus paid out $4m in a wrongful death settlement over Satterfield’s death.

The money was supposed to go to Satterfield’s sons after Murdaugh claimed he would bring the wrongful death suit against himself on their behalf.

In reality, Murdaugh allegedly stole the settlement money for himself and the housekeeper’s sons didn’t get a dime.

Murdaugh is now charged with stealing $4m from Satterfield’s family as part of a decade-long multi-million-dollar fraud scheme where he stole millions from his law firm and legal clients.

As well as the Satterfield family, he is also accused of stealing millions from other law firm clients – something he confessed to on the stand at his murder trial.

Here’s what to expect in court today:

Thursday 14 September 2023 13:40 , Rachel Sharp

Alex Murdaugh is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday morning for a status hearing in his criminal case accusing him of a string of financial fraud charges.

At the hearing, a trial date is likely to be set for Murdaugh to face charges for stealing from the estate of his dead housekeeper Gloria Satterfield and from his family friend Jordan Jinks.

Despite his efforts to avoid it, Judge Clifton Newman ordered Murdaugh to attend in person.

Murdaugh will be joined at the courthouse by Corey Fleming and Russell Laffitte – his former friends and alleged co-conspirators in his financial crimes.

Fleming is expected to be sentenced on Thursday after pleading guilty to 23 counts.

Laffitte – who was convicted of federal charges in November – is also appearing for a status conference in his state case.

Deadline looms for prosecutors to respond to Murdaugh’s motion demanding new trial

Thursday 14 September 2023 13:00 , Rachel Sharp

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 against him.

In the motion filed on 5 September, Murdaugh’s attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin claim that Ms Hill “tampered with the jury by advising them not to believe Murdaugh’s testimony and other evidence presented by the defense, pressuring them to reach a quick guilty verdict, and even misrepresenting critical and material information to the trial judge in her campaign to remove a juror she believed to be favorable to the defense”.

Specifically, they claim that the clerk instructed jurors not to be “misled” by evidence presented by the defence and told jurors not to be “fooled by” Murdaugh’s testimony when he took the stand.

She allegedly instructed the jury to “watch him closely,” to “look at his actions,” and to “look at his movements” on the stand – something at least one juror said they understood to mean that Murdaugh was guilty.

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

Who is Corey Fleming?

Thursday 14 September 2023 12:40 , Rachel Sharp

Alex Murdaugh will be joined in court on Thursday by two former friends and alleged co-conspirators in his financial crimes – Russell Laffitte and Corey Fleming.

Fleming, a former attorney and alleged accomplice in Murdaugh’s financial fraud schemes, will be sentenced on Thursday after pleading 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.

Prior to this, 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.

Corey Fleming in court (ABCNews4)
Corey Fleming in court (ABCNews4)

Alex Murdaugh to appear in court for first time since murder trial sentencing for financial crimes hearing

Thursday 14 September 2023 12:20 , Rachel Sharp

Disgraced attorney Alex Murdaugh will appear in a South Carolina courtroom on Thursday for the first time since he was sentenced to life in prison for the brutal murders of his wife and son and escorted away in handcuffs and shackles.

The convicted killer faces a slew of financial fraud charges – including allegedly stealing insurance payments meant for the family of his housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who died after a fall at the Murdaugh family property in 2018.

He is already serving two life sentences in the June 2021 killings of his wife Maggie and son Paul at the same property where the housekeeper’s fall happened three years earlier.

Read on...

​​Alex Murdaugh to appear in court for first time since his murder trial sentencing

Alex Murdaugh to appear in court today – marking first time since trial sentencing

Thursday 14 September 2023 12:00 , Rachel Sharp

Alex Murdaugh is set to appear 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 brutal murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul.

The convicted killer will attend a status conference before Judge Clifton Newman in Beaufort County on Thursday morning.

Two of his former friends and alleged co-conspirators in his financial crimes – former Palmetto State Bank CEO Russell Laffitte and former attorney Corey Fleming – are also due in court after they were previously convicted of charges.

Murdaugh is facing more than 100 state and federal charges over his alleged financial crimes, many of which he admitted to on the witness stand at his murder trial.

Who is Russell Laffitte?

Thursday 14 September 2023 11:00 , Rachel Sharp

Alex Murdaugh will be joined in court on Thursday by two former friends and alleged co-conspirators in his financial crimes – Russell Laffitte and Corey Fleming.

Laffitte is the former Palmetto State Bank CEO who is facing 21 state charges accused of conspiring with Murdaugh to misappropriate funds.

He was previously convicted in November of six federal charges including bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy in connection to Murdaugh’s alleged white collar financial fraud schemes and sentenced to seven years in federal prison. He is appealing the verdict.

His conviction came on the basis that he was Murdaugh’s co-defendant in his sprawling multi-million-dollar – and decade-long – schemes.

During his trial, Laffitte admitted that he had played a part in Murdaugh’s vast financial fraud schemes – but claimed that he was an unwilling participant who was conned by his friend.

Russell Laffitte was convicted in November on a string of financial fraud charges (Kershaw County Detention Center)
Russell Laffitte was convicted in November on a string of financial fraud charges (Kershaw County Detention Center)

Prosecutors – and the jury – disagreed, saying that Laffitte acted as Murdaugh’s personal banker and as a custodian or conservator for some of his law firm clients.

Laffitte then conspired to defraud those clients, with the two men diverting the money to themselves.

Among the victims were two children – Alaynia and Hannah Plyler – whose family members were killed in a tragic car crash.

Laffitte – whose family launched Palmetto State Bank in 1907 and who like Murdaugh came from a prominent family in the Lowcountry – was fired from the bank as details of the alleged scheme came to light.

EXCLUSIVE: Will Alex Murdaugh be granted a new trial? Legal expert weighs in

Thursday 14 September 2023 10:00 , Rachel Sharp

When Alex Murdaugh was convicted of the murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul back in March, his legal team insisted that the fight wasn’t over.

Six months on, his attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin descended on the South Carolina court of appeals in Columbia and filed a motion calling for a new trial and accusing the clerk of court of jury tampering.

So just how serious are these allegations? And will this now pave the way for Murdaugh – a man convicted of killing his wife and son in cold blood, a man facing another 700 years behind bars on 100 financial fraud charges and a man embroiled in a sprawling saga of mystery deaths – to be granted a new trial?

Prominent attorney Duncan Levin speaks to The Independent:

Will Alex Murdaugh be granted a new trial? Legal expert weighs in

Why Murdaugh is calling for a new trial

Thursday 14 September 2023 09:00 , Rachel Sharp

Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh has accused a South Carolina court clerk of tampering with the jury at his high-profile double murder trial – because she was driven by fame and a desire to secure a book deal.

The disgraced legal scion and double murderer filed a motion last week requesting a new trial on the basis that Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill allegedly pressured jurors on the case to return a guilty verdict against him.

In the motion, Murdaugh’s attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin claim that Ms Hill “tampered with the jury by advising them not to believe Murdaugh’s testimony and other evidence presented by the defense, pressuring them to reach a quick guilty verdict, and even misrepresenting critical and material information to the trial judge in her campaign to remove a juror she believed to be favorable to the defense”.

Specifically, they claim that the clerk instructed jurors not to be “misled” by evidence presented by the defence and told jurors not to be “fooled by” Murdaugh’s testimony when he took the stand.

She allegedly instructed the jury to “watch him closely,” to “look at his actions,” and to “look at his movements” on the stand – something at least one juror said they understood to mean that Murdaugh was guilty.

Much of the motion centres around juror number 785 – who became infamous when she was dismissed from the panel just hours before jury deliberations began.

According to the motion, Ms Hill had gone to Judge Newman on 27 February – the day after Murdaugh testified – claiming that she had seen a post in local Facebook group “Walterboro Word of Mouth” from juror 785’s former husband Tim Stone.

Alex Murdaugh Appeal
Alex Murdaugh Appeal

The post purportedly claimed that the juror was drinking with her ex-husband and, when she became drunk, she expressed her views on whether Murdaugh was innocent or guilty.

A follow-up post from an account called Timothy Stone apologised for the post saying that he was driven by “Satan”.

When Ms Hill confronted the juror about the posts, the juror said she hadn’t seen her ex-husband in 10 years, the motion states.

Murdaugh’s attorneys claim that the original post was “fictitous” and that a download of Mr Stone’s Facebook shows he did not make either post.

They claim the clerk repeatedly asked the juror what her verdict would be – and “campaigned” to have her removed.

Alex Murdaugh accuses ‘fame seeking’ court clerk of jury tampering at his murder trial

Thursday 14 September 2023 08:00 , Rachel Sharp

Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh has accused a South Carolina court clerk of tampering with the jury at his high-profile double murder trial – because she was driven by fame and a desire to secure a book deal.

The disgraced legal scion and double murderer filed a motion on Tuesday requesting a new trial on the basis that Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill allegedly pressured jurors on the case to return a guilty verdict against him.

In the motion, Murdaugh’s attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin claim that Ms Hill “tampered with the jury by advising them not to believe Murdaugh’s testimony and other evidence presented by the defense, pressuring them to reach a quick guilty verdict, and even misrepresenting critical and material information to the trial judge in her campaign to remove a juror she believed to be favorable to the defense”.

Read the story here:

Alex Murdaugh accuses ‘fame seeking’ court clerk of jury tampering at murder trial

WATCH: Craziest courthouse moments from the Alex Murdaugh trial

Thursday 14 September 2023 07:00 , Rachel Sharp

ICYMI: Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh loses prison privileges over recorded phone call for documentary

Thursday 14 September 2023 06:00 , Rachel Sharp

Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh has lost some of his prison privileges after he fed information to a Fox Nation documentary without permission.

South Carolina Corrections Department officials said on Wednesday that, during a jailhouse phone call on 10 June, Murdaugh’s lawyer Jim Griffin had recorded him reading aloud entries from the journal he had kept during his double murder trial.

Mr Griffin had then handed over the recordings to producers working on the new Fox Nation documentary about his high-profile case titled “The Fall of the House of Murdaugh”, released today.

Read more:

Alex Murdaugh loses prison privileges over recorded phone call for documentary

Alex Murdaugh trial court clerk ducks question about whether she tampered with jury

Thursday 14 September 2023 05:00 , Rachel Sharp

Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca “Becky” Hill had nothing to say when she was spotted on Thursday for the first time since being accused of tampering with the jury in Alex Murdaugh’s murder trial.

Ms Hill clutched her cell phone, a drink and a stack of papers in one hand as she crossed the street in Walterboro, South Carolina, around 10am and walked into the courthouse through a back gate.

In a video posted by Fox News, a photographer could be heard asking her, “Did you tamper with the jurors?”

Read on...

Alex Murdaugh trial court clerk ducks question about whether she tampered with jury

ICYMI: Buster Murdaugh breaks silence on Stephen Smith killing – and calls father Alex a ‘psychopath’

Thursday 14 September 2023 03:45 , Rachel Sharp

Buster Murdaugh has broken his silence to deny any involvement in the mysterious killing of gay teenager Stephen Smith – and insist that he still believes his father is innocent of the murders of his mother and brother.

Alex Murdaugh’s only surviving son spoke out in his first TV interview since his family was propelled to national attention, for the new three-part FOX Nation documentary “The Fall of the House of Murdaugh”.

In the interview, Buster slammed rumours that he too could have been involved in a heinous murder – that of 19-year-old Smith in July 2015 – and offered an alibi for his whereabouts on the night the teenager was killed.

“I never had anything to do with his murder, and I never had anything to do with him on a physical level in any regard,” he said in a clip from the documentary, due for release on 31 August.

Read more...

Buster Murdaugh breaks silence on Stephen Smith death and insists father is innocent

WATCH: Alex Murdaugh's attorneys demand new trial over allegations of jury tampering

Thursday 14 September 2023 02:45 , Rachel Sharp

VOICES: Alex Murdaugh has a new victim story. We should be paying attention

Thursday 14 September 2023 01:45 , Rachel Sharp

Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh is once again claiming to be a victim in one of America’s most explosive murder cases.

The 65-year-old disgraced legal dynasty heir - currently serving life in prison for the brutal June 2021 slayings of his wife Maggie and son Paul - filed a motion for a new murder trial on the grounds of alleged jury tampering in his original trial.

This is hardly the first time we’ve seen Murdaugh take on a victim role. He put on his biggest performance on the witness stand during his trial, where he lamented over his last moments with his wife and son, and sobbed at the horror of finding their bodies as he pleaded for the real killer to be caught.

Megan Sheets writes:

Alex Murdaugh has a new victim story. We should be paying attention

Who is Alex Murdaugh?

Thursday 14 September 2023 00:45 , Rachel Sharp

Alex Murdaugh was once a powerful figure in Hampton County, South Carolina, where his family has reigned over the local justice system for almost a century.

Three generations of the family – his father, grandfather and great-grandfather – all served as the solicitor in the 14th Judicial Circuit solicitor’s office.

His father Randy held the position until 2006 and was given the highest civilian award the Order of the Palmetto by the South Carolina governor in 2018 for his work. Randy died just three days after Maggie and Paul’s murders.

Due to the Murdaughs’ prominence in the judicial system in the lowcountry, the family held a reputation for being powerful and wielding their influence over matters.

Murdaugh continued with the family tradition working as an attorney in the local prosecutor’s office and also at his own law firm PMPED (the M standing for Murdaugh).

He was married to wife Maggie – whom he met at college - and the couple had two sons Buster and Paul.

After the murders of his wife and son, it transpired that Murdaugh had a two-decade-long opoiod addiction and he checked into rehab in September 2021.

Alex Murdaugh in mug shot (SCDOC)
Alex Murdaugh in mug shot (SCDOC)

What to expect in court on Thursday?

Wednesday 13 September 2023 23:45 , Rachel Sharp

Alex Murdaugh is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday morning for a status hearing in his criminal case accusing him of a string of financial fraud charges.

At the hearing, a trial date is likely to be set for Murdaugh to face charges for stealing from the estate of his dead housekeeper Gloria Satterfield and from his family friend Jordan Jinks.

Despite his efforts to avoid it, Judge Clifton Newman ordered Murdaugh to attend in person.

Murdaugh will be joined at the courthouse by Corey Fleming and Russell Laffitte – his former friends and alleged co-conspirators in his financial crimes.

Fleming is expected to be sentenced on Thursday after pleading guilty to 23 counts.

Laffitte – who was convicted of federal charges in November – is also appearing for a status conference in his state case.

An Alex Murdaugh juror gained infamy with a dozen eggs. Now she’s at the centre of his bid for a new trial

Wednesday 13 September 2023 22:45 , Rachel Sharp

Juror number 785 hit headlines due to a comedic moment where she asked to retrieve a dozen eggs from the jury room after being dismissed from Murdaugh’s trial. Now, the so-called ‘egg juror’ could be about to blow the killer’s case wide open again. Rachel Sharp reports

Alex Murdaugh’s infamous ‘egg juror’ is at the centre of his bid for a new trial

WATCH: Buster Murdaugh gives first TV interview

Wednesday 13 September 2023 21:45 , Rachel Sharp

Who is Corey Fleming?

Wednesday 13 September 2023 20:45 , Rachel Sharp

Alex Murdaugh will be joined in court on Thursday by two former friends and alleged co-conspirators in his financial crimes – Russell Laffitte and Corey Fleming.

Fleming, a former attorney and alleged accomplice in Murdaugh’s financial fraud schemes, will be sentenced on Thursday after pleading 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.

Prior to this, 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.

Corey Fleming in court (ABCNews4)
Corey Fleming in court (ABCNews4)

Who is Russell Laffitte?

Wednesday 13 September 2023 19:45 , Rachel Sharp

Alex Murdaugh will be joined in court on Thursday by two former friends and alleged co-conspirators in his financial crimes – Russell Laffitte and Corey Fleming.

Laffitte is the former Palmetto State Bank CEO who is facing 21 state charges accused of conspiring with Murdaugh to misappropriate funds.

He was previously convicted in November of six federal charges including bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy in connection to Murdaugh’s alleged white collar financial fraud schemes and sentenced to seven years in federal prison. He is appealing the verdict.

His conviction came on the basis that he was Murdaugh’s co-defendant in his sprawling multi-million-dollar – and decade-long – schemes.

During his trial, Laffitte admitted that he had played a part in Murdaugh’s vast financial fraud schemes – but claimed that he was an unwilling participant who was conned by his friend.

Prosecutors – and the jury – disagreed, saying that Laffitte acted as Murdaugh’s personal banker and as a custodian or conservator for some of his law firm clients.

Laffitte then conspired to defraud those clients, with the two men diverting the money to themselves.

Among the victims were two children – Alaynia and Hannah Plyler – whose family members were killed in a tragic car crash.

Laffitte – whose family launched Palmetto State Bank in 1907 and who like Murdaugh came from a prominent family in the Lowcountry – was fired from the bank as details of the alleged scheme came to light.

Russell Laffitte was convicted in November on a string of financial fraud charges (Kershaw County Detention Center)
Russell Laffitte was convicted in November on a string of financial fraud charges (Kershaw County Detention Center)

WATCH: Court clerk's co-author responds to Murdaugh's jury tampering allegations

Wednesday 13 September 2023 18:45 , Rachel Sharp

EXCLUSIVE: Will Alex Murdaugh be granted a new trial? Legal expert weighs in

Wednesday 13 September 2023 17:45 , Rachel Sharp

When Alex Murdaugh was convicted of the murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul back in March, his legal team insisted that the fight wasn’t over.

Six months on, his attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin descended on the South Carolina court of appeals in Columbia and filed a motion calling for a new trial and accusing the clerk of court of jury tampering.

So just how serious are these allegations? And will this now pave the way for Murdaugh – a man convicted of killing his wife and son in cold blood, a man facing another 700 years behind bars on 100 financial fraud charges and a man embroiled in a sprawling saga of mystery deaths – to be granted a new trial?

Prominent attorney Duncan Levin speaks to The Independent:

Will Alex Murdaugh be granted a new trial? Legal expert weighs in

Deadline looms for prosecutors to respond to jury tampering allegations

Wednesday 13 September 2023 17:25 , Rachel Sharp

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 against him.

In the motion filed on 5 September, Murdaugh’s attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin claim that Ms Hill “tampered with the jury by advising them not to believe Murdaugh’s testimony and other evidence presented by the defense, pressuring them to reach a quick guilty verdict, and even misrepresenting critical and material information to the trial judge in her campaign to remove a juror she believed to be favorable to the defense”.

Specifically, they claim that the clerk instructed jurors not to be “misled” by evidence presented by the defence and told jurors not to be “fooled by” Murdaugh’s testimony when he took the stand.

She allegedly instructed the jury to “watch him closely,” to “look at his actions,” and to “look at his movements” on the stand – something at least one juror said they understood to mean that Murdaugh was guilty.

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

Alex Murdaugh to appear in court for first time since trial sentencing

Wednesday 13 September 2023 17:05 , Rachel Sharp

Alex Murdaugh is set to appear in court this week 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 brutal murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul.

The convicted killer will attend a status conference before Judge Clifton Newman in Beaufort County on Thursday morning.

Two of his former friends and alleged co-conspirators in his financial crimes – former Palmetto State Bank CEO Russell Laffitte and former attorney Corey Fleming – are also due in court after they were previously convicted of charges.

Murdaugh is facing more than 100 state and federal charges over his alleged financial crimes, many of which he admitted to on the witness stand at his murder trial.

Welcome to The Independent’s live blog

Wednesday 13 September 2023 16:55 , Rachel Sharp

Follow updates as convicted killer Alex Murdaugh is set to appear in court on financial fraud charges and the deadline looms for the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office to respond to his attorneys’ bombshell motion claiming jury tampering in his murder trial

Alex Murdaugh accuses ‘fame seeking’ court clerk of jury tampering at his murder trial

Wednesday 13 September 2023 17:54 , Rachel Sharp

Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh has accused a South Carolina court clerk of tampering with the jury at his high-profile double murder trial – because she was driven by fame and a desire to secure a book deal.

The disgraced legal scion and double murderer filed a motion on Tuesday requesting a new trial on the basis that Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill allegedly pressured jurors on the case to return a guilty verdict against him.

In the motion, Murdaugh’s attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin claim that Ms Hill “tampered with the jury by advising them not to believe Murdaugh’s testimony and other evidence presented by the defense, pressuring them to reach a quick guilty verdict, and even misrepresenting critical and material information to the trial judge in her campaign to remove a juror she believed to be favorable to the defense”.

Read more...

Alex Murdaugh accuses ‘fame seeking’ court clerk of jury tampering at murder trial