Hearings for Murdaugh, Fleming and Laffitte set for Thursday morning
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The disbarred Lowcountry attorney charged with scores of financial crimes and two others accused of conspiring with him are scheduled to appear before a judge Thursday in Beaufort County.
Alex Murdaugh, who faces more than 100 state and federal charges related to financial crimes, is set to appear for a status conference before Judge Clifton Newman. Thursday’s hearing will focus on the state charges.
Murdaugh previously agreed to plead guilty to federal charges he stole millions of dollars from clients, according to court records. That federal court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 21.
Cory Fleming, a former attorney who was allegedly connected to Murdaugh in financial schemes, is set to be sentenced Thursday morning as well after entering guilty pleas last month. Fleming faced a total of 23 state charges ranging from breach of trust with fraudulent intent, money laundering, computer crimes, and criminal conspiracy.
The charges stem from accusations that he conspired with Murdaugh to take money from a wrongful death settlement from the estate of Gloria Satterfield. Satterfield was Murdaugh’s longtime housekeeper who died after what was described as a “trip-and-fall” accident at Murdaugh’s home in February of 2018.
Back in May, Fleming pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to commit fraud. Judge Richard Gergel sentenced him to 46 months, or nearly four years, in prison. Gergel also sentenced him to pay $102,000 in restitution and a fine of $20,000. He will be under three years of supervised release after he serves his time on the federal charges. The federal charges were based on allegations he helped Murdaugh take money from two law firm clients, the Satterfield and Pinckney families.
Russell Laffitte, the former Palmetto State Bank CEO convicted on six federal counts of financial crimes, is also set to have a status conference on his trial involving the 21 state charges against him. Prosecutors alleged Laffitte conspired to misappropriate funds to allow Murdaugh to pay back loans Laffitte had issued him from client funds.
A jury found Laffitte guilty of six federal financial crimes in November. Laffitte was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit bank or wire fraud, one count of bank fraud, one count of wire fraud and three counts of misapplication of bank funds. The crimes are alleged to have involved helping convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh steal nearly $2 million from clients’ legal settlements. Gergel sentenced Laffitte to 84 months in prison in August. That works out to seven years in prison, and Laffitte will also have to pay $3.55 million in restitution.
In court documents filed Aug. 8, Laffitte appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit from the sentence handed down Aug. 1.
It is unclear whether Murdaugh, who is serving two life sentences for the June 2021 killings of his wife and son on the family’s rural Colleton County hunting property, will attend the hearing.
Copyright 2023 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.