Though the state grand jury indicted him for a second time on April 14, no bond hearing has been held or scheduled for besmirched Beaufort County attorney Cory Fleming — one of Alex Murdaugh‘s closest friends and godfather to his son, Buster.
And no hearing will be held.
Before we explain why, here’s some quick background …
The three superseding indictments that were unsealed last week against Fleming, Murdaugh and former CEO of Palmetto State Bank Russell Laffitte included five new charges for Fleming, bringing his total to 23 charges in alleged schemes to defraud two former clients of $3.725 million.
Fleming is accused of misappropriating more than $100,000 from a client’s settlement in 2012 and 2017.
He’s also accused of using $8,000 to hire a private plane to fly himself, Murdaugh and Bamberg attorney Chris Wilson to the 2012 College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
At the time the indictments were unsealed last week, Fleming was out on a $100,000 surety bond related to the 18 charges he received in March for his alleged role in stealing the Satterfield family’s entire $4.3 million settlement.
Fleming represented the estate of Gloria Satterfield, who was a longtime domestic worker of Alex and Maggie Murdaugh and helped raise their sons. Satterfield died after an alleged “trip and fall” at the family’s Moselle estate in 2018.
As part of his March bond agreement, Fleming had to surrender his passport and is barred from leaving the state without the express permission of the court.
Last Friday, Laffitte was arraigned in Richland County Court for his alleged role in stealing nearly $2 million from Murdaugh’s clients, for whom he had served as conservator and personal representative.
Just hours before the bond hearing, Laffitte had turned himself in to Kershaw County Detention Center and was released later that day on a $1 million bond. Laffitte, who faces 18 charges, was ordered on house arrest. He also had to surrender his passport and is barred from leaving the state. The court is also restricting him from talking to anyone — including family members — about business at his family’s bank.
Murdaugh, as readers know, has been jailed since October 2021 at the Richland County Detention Center. He now stands accused of stealing nearly $9 million and faces 82 charges, three of which are related to his September 2021 roadside shooting.
So what about Fleming?
On Thursday evening, the South Carolina Attorney General’s office confirmed to FITSNews that Fleming has been allowed to forgo a second hearing and has agreed to pay an additional $100,000 surety bond. No additional conditions have been added to his bond agreement.
This means that Fleming has been released from jail on a $200,000 surety bond while he awaits trial.
In the March bond hearing, the judge allowed Fleming to post just 10 percent of that first $100,000. The decision about what portion of the second bond Fleming had to pay was made by the bondsman, according to the AG’s office.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Liz Farrell is the new executive editor at FITSNews. She was named 2018’s top columnist in the state by South Carolina Press Association and is back after taking a nearly two-year break from corporate journalism to reclaim her soul. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet her @ElizFarrell.
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