Trial date set for Murdaugh’s financial charges, co-conspirator Cory Fleming sentenced

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 3:18 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2023 at 5:56 PM EDT
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BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - Alex Murdaugh was back in court Thursday in the Lowcountry, this time in Beaufort County for his financial crimes.

More than six months ago, Murdaugh was sentenced to two lifetimes behind bars for murdering his wife and son. On Thursday, a different case involving him moves forward, as he faces 101 financial crime charges for stealing nearly $9 million of his clients’ money.

Locked in handcuffs, covered in an orange jumpsuit that reads inmate, and followed by a handful of Department of Corrections officers, the convicted murderer stepped into a Beaufort County court room for a status conference on his financial wrongdoings. The point of this hearing was to set a date for trial.

This is separate from the murder case, but Murdaugh’s attorneys brought that trial up, asking what the rush is to try Alex for stealing so quickly after convicting him of murder.

The state saying his financial victims deserve justice, just as his homicide ones do. After some back-and-forth, Judge Clifton Newman gave three options for the start of this white-collar crime trial, all in the year 2023.

After arguing against a trial start date in this calendar year, the defense agreed to November 27, 2023, as the first day Alex Murdaugh will stand in court in Beaufort County specifically for stealing almost $4 million from the family of his former housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield.

After that, it was Murdaugh’s co-conspirator Cory Fleming’s turn. Unlike Murdaugh, Fleming has pled guilty to stealing millions so Thursday was his state level sentencing for those crimes.

“It doesn’t take him long to steal a couple of checks so that he and Alex Murdaugh can fly in a private plane and go to college World Series,” said lead prosecutor Creighton Waters.

“He has fully acknowledged that he is wrong, that he committed illegal acts and that he is guilty. And he can only give this court and he can only give the government the facts as he knows them,” said Deborah Barbier, the attorney representing Cory Fleming.

“I think the greatest crime for a lawyer in the history of the state of South Carolina,” said Judge Clifton Newman.

We were at Fleming’s federal sentencing this time last month, where he received less than four years of prison time.

Thursday, Judge Newman handed down a 20 year sentence for Fleming’s state crimes... the first four of which fall under the federal ruling.

Also Thursday, another Murdaugh co-conspirator appeared in court. Russell Laffitte had a status conference similar to Alex Murdaugh, but the judge ruled they would try to set a trial date four to six weeks down the road.