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Murdaugh lawyers release statement on new charges related to settlement in housekeeper’s death

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 10:57 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 14, 2021 at 4:22 PM EDT
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ORLANDO, Fla. (WCSC) - Attorneys representing Lowcountry attorney Alex Murdaugh released a statement Thursday afternoon on new charges against their client, who is accused of misappropriating funds from a wrongful death settlement for the family of his longtime housekeeper

Attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin said they expect State Law Enforcement Division agents to bring Murdaugh to Beaufort County where he will appear before a magistrate judge for a bond hearing Friday on two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses

“We have not seen the warrants but have been informed that he is charged with two counts of obtaining goods under false pretenses relating to the settlement proceeds from the estate of Gloria Satterfield,” Harpootlian and Griffin said in the statement. “Alex intends to fully cooperate with this investigation, as he has with the investigation into the murder of his wife and son. He deeply regrets that his actions have distracted from the efforts to solve their murders.”

Agents with SLED and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement took Murdaugh into custody Thursday morning upon his release from a drug rehabilitation facility in Orlando, SLED spokesman Tommy Crosby said.

Satterfield, who worked as the Murdaugh’s maid for some 20 years, died from injuries she suffered in a trip-and-fall accident in the Murdaugh home in February 2018.

Attorney Eric Bland said Satterfield’s sons, whom he represented in their lawsuit over the missing settlement money, are grateful and feel satisfaction, but not closure.

“They are not at peace with their mother’s death,” he said. “They can’t be. All of this has brought up this fresh scab and picked it. So no, they are not at peace.”

He said he expects “many more charges,” possibly federal charges, to come.

As for the circumstances of Satterfield’s death, Bland said everything he has learned is consistent with dogs tripping her down brick stairs at the family property.

“Those are about eight very steep brick stairs that are round and pointed, pointed with a sharp edge, so it’s consistent with a fall,” he said.

SPECIAL SECTION: The Murdaugh Cases

Murdaugh was booked into Orange County Corrections where he will be held until he receives an extradition hearing.

Upon extradition being granted or waived, he will be brought back to South Carolina to receive a bond hearing.

“Today is merely one more step in a long process for justice for the many victims in these investigations,” SLED Chief Mark Keel. said, commending his agents over the last four months. “They will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of those who were victimized by Alex Murdaugh and others. As I have said previously, we are committed to following the facts wherever they may lead us and we will not stop until justice is served.”

Satterfield’s estate filed lawsuit over missing settlement funds

Satterfield was 57 at the time of her death. Her estate reached a settlement earlier this month with the lawyer and insurance company who represented Satterfield’s children after she died.

In a statement on behalf of the Satterfield family, Bland Richter, LLP said a settlement was reached between Satterfield’s estate, Cory Fleming, and the insurance carrier connected to the lawsuit.

Bland said Satterfield’s children never received the more than four-million-dollar settlement reached between their first lawyer after their Mom’s death, Cory Fleming, and Murdaugh. On Sept. 15, 2021, Bland filed a lawsuit against Alex Murdaugh, Fleming, and Fleming’s firm for breach of fiduciary duty and civil conspiracy.

Bland says Fleming was referred to Satterfield’s sons by Alex Murdaugh. Bland said Fleming was also one of Murdaugh’s “best friends and college roommate.”

“Mr. Fleming stepped forward and did the right thing by the Estate. Mr. Fleming and his law firm maintain, they—like others—were victims of Alex Murdaugh’s fraudulent scheme,” Bland and Richter wrote.

Bland says the insurance carrier has also said they would pay Satterfield’s children their full policy limit.

The filing of the lawsuit prompted the Hampton County Coroner Angela Topper to request SLED open an investigation into Satterfield’s death. Topper said the death was not reported to her office and no autopsy was conducted. She also told SLED the manner of death listed on the death certificate was ruled “Natural” which she said was inconsistent with injuries sustained in a trip and fall accident.

Murdaugh also charged in alleged insurance scheme

Last month, Murdaugh was charged with filing a false police report, insurance fraud and conspiring to commit insurance fraud in connection to a shooting incident over Labor Day weekend.

Murdaugh initially told investigators he had been shot while changing a tire on a Hampton County road. But investigators say he later admitted giving Curtis Smith a gun and asking Smith to shoot Murdaugh in the head. The motive, investigators alleged, was so that Murdaugh’s son could receive a $10 million insurance settlement.

Harpootlian previously released a statement blaming this all on an opioid addiction.

Smith, who is charged with assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud, and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, told CBS’s “48 Hours” he never shot Murdaugh.

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