Image default
Murdaughs

Alex Murdaugh Hearing: Livestream, Live Feed From Beaufort County

News and notes from Thursday’s status conference …

During the double homicide trial of convicted killer Alex Murdaugh earlier this year, our media outlet provided a livestream – and a live feed – which kept our audience in the loop on the very latest developments from South Carolina’s ‘Trial of the Century.’

As the Murdaugh case ramps back up in the aftermath of some seismic jury tampering allegations, we are putting the band back together and running a livestream/ live feed from a status hearing in Beaufort, S.C.

Murdaugh was convicted by a Colleton County jury of the graphic 2021 murders of his wife – 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh – and younger son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh, at the conclusion of a six-week trial in Walterboro, S.C. earlier this year.

Support FITSNews … SUBSCRIBE!

***

S.C. circuit court judge Clifton Newman – who presided over the trial and sentenced Murdaugh to consecutive life sentences for the murders – will preside over today’s hearing, which is being held in the Beaufort County courthouse.

Murdaugh will appear along with his attorneys, led by state senator Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin. Appearing on behalf of the state will be the trial team led by prosecutor Creighton Waters.

Our stream is being run by special projects director/ journalist Dylan Nolan (dylan@fitsnews.com) while our feed is being run by research director Jenn Wood (jenn@fitsnews.com). Reach out to them via their linked Twitter profiles or the emails provided next to them. Same goes for our founding editor Will Folks (w@fitsnews), who is coordinating our coverage from Columbia, S.C.

***

THE FEED …

4:00 p.m. EDT – A clarifying sentence Tweet (or Xeet?) from Drew Tripp, “So, the lead Satterfield and lead Pinckney sentence both were 10 years, ordered to run consecutively (one after the other). Within those two 10-year sentences, all other lesser sentences (state & federal) will be concurrent — meaning at the same time as the longer sentences.”

3:58 p.m. EDT – Newman sentenced Fleming on Pinckney case to 10 years, consecutive to federal sentence he’s currently serving — 3 years, 10 months — concurrent to other sentences. Restitution hearing at a later date. Court is adjourned.

3:55 p.m. EDT – Judge Newman has sentenced Fleming in the Satterfield case to 5 years for insurance fraud, 10 years for breach of trust, 10 years for money laundering, 5 years for breach of trust, 5 years for money laundering, and 5 years for computer crime. Concurrent. (Total of 10 years)

3:52 p.m. EDT – Judge Newman to Fleming, “My heart bleeds for you because I have no doubt of the quality human being you are that is reflected by all of the positive comments, but you must suffer the consequences of your actions in these cases that you’re standing before me for temporal justice with mercy.”

3:48 p.m. EDT – Judge Newman discusses remorse and related the trial of Cristina Pangalangan two weeks ago in Colleton County. Newman sentenced Pangalangan to 37 years in prison.

3:36 p.m. EDT – Judge Newman – “I’ve never deferred to a federal court to guide my sentence. As a state court judge.”

3:41 p.m. EDT – Judge Newman is speaking. He states this is the second time in his 47 year career of having to deal with sentencing a lawyer and continues, “This is unprecedented. This is unimaginable. This is I think, the greatest crime for a lawyer in the history of the state of South Carolina.”

3:28 p.m. EDT – Deborah Barbier thanks Judge Newman for allowing them the time to present statements on behalf of Flemings supporters. She asks again for a concurrent sentence.

3:25 p.m. EDT – Fleming breaks down as he apologizes to his family, “I love you so much.” He says he will spend the rest of his life trying to earn back their respect. He continues with a stronger voice as he addresses the court, “Your Honor, I know that I deserve to be punished for my conduct. I take full responsibility for my actions.”

3:23 p.m. EDT – Fleming addresses Pamela Pinckney, “I failed you as a client and a friend.” He apologizes to the Satterfield family as well.

3:20 p.m. EDT – Cory Fleming is addressing the court. Fleming says he “offers the court no excuses.” He places the blame on his shoulders and no one else’s. He has a profound and deep disappointment in himself. Fleming thanks the Satterfield and Pinckney family’s for their forgiveness.

3:15 p.m. EDT – We are hearing from a number of supporters speaking on behalf of Cory Fleming. He is clearly loved by many within the community and has done good things. It will be interesting to learn how and if it affects Judge Newman’s sentencing. Newman is asking those speaking questions and appears to be as engaged as he was during victim statements.

Judge Clifton Newman listens to a series of objections during Alex Murdaugh’s trial for murder at the Colleton County Courthouse on Friday, February 10, 2023. Joshua Boucher/The State/Pool

3:02 p.m. EDT – Wilkes continues by clarifying, “I’m here today as a supporter of Cory and being a supporter of Cory does not mean that I don’t understand that he made bad choices. Because I do understand that, and being a supporter of Cory does not make me a victim of anything.”

3:00 p.m. EDT – Shannon Wilkes would like to address the court on behalf of Fleming. She has known Fleming and his wife, Eve, since 1998 and worked for Fleming as a paralegal for 2 and a half years. She says Fleming always treated her and his clients with “respect, compassion and kindness.”

2:57 p.m. EDT – McCloskey says, “We embrace Cory in his broken and contrite state, and what purpose would we do that? Why would we do something like that? Because we see a goodness in Cory that has been covered up, but is coming to fruition now.” He continues, “Well, what is the most powerful vehicle to human change? Human behavior, nature? Its adversity, its struggle.”

2:55 p.m. EDT – Court has resumed. Deborah Barbier has called Mike McCloskey to speak on Cory Fleming’s behalf. Mike is a trial lawyer based in Beaufort. He has known Fleming and his family since they moved to Beaufort in 1967. He says he has never seen a man as remorseful as Fleming and recalls him saying in federal court, “I don’t deserve to be forgiven.”

1:29 p.m. EDT – Judge Newman has called for a 1 hour and 15 minute lunch break. After the break, the court will hear from those who wish to speak on Fleming’s behalf as well as Cory Fleming himself.

1:19 p.m. EDT – Deborah Barbier is going through details of letters of support and support from his family in court.

12:59 p.m. EDT – Barbier states the goals of the prosecution are to protect the public and promote the rules of law and these goals would be accomplished by a concurrent sentence.

12:56 p.m. EDT – Barbier tells the court that she takes issue with Waters’ analogy, “I have to say with all due respect, this analogy is a gross mischaracterization of Mr. Fleming’s guilty plea and the illegal conduct that he has fully acknowledged.” She continues, “He’s (Fleming) not run away. He has confronted his actions. He has stepped up to the plate. He has fully acknowledged that he was wrong, that he committed illegal acts and that he is guilty.”

12:54 p.m. EDT – Barbier reminds the court that Jeannie Seckinger, the PMPED CFO, testified that Murdaugh’s former firm had checks being written to Forge for years out of their trust account, and they didn’t know he was stealing. She says Fleming was as stunned as everyone else about Murdaugh’s thefts.

12:50 p.m. EDT – Barbier points out some inaccuracies in the State’s case. None are material to his guilt, but she wants to point them out. She states the most important thing she wants him to consider is the State has consistently accepted that Fleming might not have expected Murdaugh to steal all the money.

12:48 p.m. EDT – Deborah Barbier is speaking to the court now on behalf of Fleming. She references a sentencing memorandum Fleming’s defense filed on August 21, 2023. The sentencing memorandum laid out some of the background of the investigation, joint federal investigation, and also talked a lot about Fleming’s life including his community involvement for consideration.

12:44 p.m. EDT – Judge Newman asks Waters what Fleming’s exposure is for the judgement in the Satterfield and Pinckney cases. Waters responds, “The total exposure between the two is 195 years.” As well as fines of up to over $2 million plus discretionary funds. (Couldn’t get exact number because Waters is talking fast!)

12:42 p.m. EDT – Waters asks the judge for consecutive time for Fleming, “There needs to be independent accountability for the truth of what happened to the Satterfield’s above and beyond any other proceeding that has nothing to do with what happened here.” He continues, “A lawyer should not get one stop shopping for victimizing multiple clients over the course of a decade.”

12:38 p.m. EDT – Waters addresses the court again. He says he knows there is a lot of support for Fleming in the court and he’s sorry they have to go through this, but “to be a con man it depends on trust. It depends on reputation.” The people speaking on behalf of Fleming are going to say they trusted him. Waters continues, “What really happened matters when it affects the integrity of the system. When it was abuse of the system. Of the very courtroom in which we’re in right now.”

12:37 p.m. EDT – Bamberg tells the court that due to statute of limitations, this is Pinckney’s only chance to see justice for the crimes committed against her. He says knowing Pamela Pinckney now, he knows if Cory Fleming had asked her for money, she would have given it to him.

12:29 p.m. EDT – Attorney Justing Bamberg is speaking on behalf of his client, Pamela Pinckney was horribly injured in the car crash and is still dealing with her injuries. Pinckney is the mother of Hakeem Pinckney who was left a quadriplegic following the crash. Pinckney’s niece Natasha Thomas also lost her vision and suffered extensive injuries.

Attorney Justin Bamberg speaks to the court at Cory Fleming’s sentencing on September 14, 2023

12:26 p.m. EDT – Eric Bland to judge Newman – “I’ve watched you your entire career. I know how much you care about what our profession. I certainly know how much you care about our state. And this whole Murdaugh, Fleming, Laffitte debacle has stained our state.”

12:24 p.m. EDT – The last thing Bland wants to add is that Fleming fought these charges. When Fleming filed his response to the complaint filed against him in the Georgia Bar Association, Fleming told the bar he was duped by Murdaugh, like everyone else.

12:20 p.m. EDT – Bland tells the court Fleming sent the check without a cover letter to Forge to a PO Box in Hampton, South Carolina. He says every plaintiff lawyer knows the Forge offices are in Columbia, South Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia… not in some PO Box in Hampton. Fleming sat on a $4.3 million dollar settlement while Gloria’s sons — who are vulnerable adults — were pushed out of their mother’s trailer as it was being foreclosed.

12:18 p.m. EDT – Eric Bland – “In this case, they took every single dollar and never communicated with Tony Satterfield, never communicated with Brian Harriott.” In his 35 years of practicing law, Bland says he has never seen a case where the attorneys took every single cent of a client’s settlement.

12:14 p.m. EDT – Attorney Eric Bland is speaking on behalf of his clients, the Satterfield family. He says, “Mr. Fleming knew exactly what he was doing. He is a plaintiff’s lawyer. He has settled plaintiff cases. And in this particular case, he worked with a party he was making a claim. It’s impossible to get your arms around that. He didn’t have permission to do that. He never had the agreement to do what he did with the client.”

Eric Bland

12:11 p.m. EDT – The first victim to address the court is Tony Satterfield. He says he trusts the judge and God in this decision. Gloria’s sister begins speaking. She tells the court that while they forgive Fleming, it doesn’t take away the hurt. They find solace in the fact that Gloria’s death helped uncover additional crimes. They trust judge Newman to make the right decision.

12:08 p.m. EDT – Waters has turned the floor over to the victims to make statements. Judge Newman asks for the court to take one of his much appreciated “stretch” breaks.

12:06 p.m. EDT – Creighton Waters continues his fiery statements to the court, “Well Your Honor. You don’t get to rob a bank, run down the road. And the police catch him and say, Oh, here’s the money back. We’re cool, right? It’s not how it works.”

12:02 p.m. EDT – Waters tells the court that the implication that Fleming thought the checks were really going to the real Forge is false. An email with Nautilus Insurance shows that’s a lie. A Nautilus lawyer inquired how to make out checks — if it should be a standard check for Chad Westendorf as PR or structured check to Forge. Fleming replied a standard check.

11:58 a.m. EDT – Waters adds Fleming had checks made out to Chad Westendorf before they’d even gotten Westendorf approved as personal representative. Fleming then forged paperwork to make it look like Westendorf had been the PR for 8 months longer than he really had been, dating back to March 2018 — a month after Satterfield’s death.

11:50 a.m. EDT – Waters says to the court, “When you’re conspiring with somebody, you’re responsible for the natural and probable consequences of that act regardless but even that being the case, he knew the evidence.” The disbursement sheets for the Satterfield case show $11,500 in fraudulent expenses. These disbursements were prepared by Fleming’s firm.

11:47 a.m. EDT – “It was a shakedown, plain and simple.” — Creighton Waters on Murdaugh and Laffitte’s conspiracy to take the Satterfield settlement.

11:43 a.m. EDT – Judge Newman asks Waters when the check relating to Pinckney’s settlement was written. Waters replies in December of 2017… just months before Murdaugh’s housekeeper Gloria Satterfield suffered a fatal fall at the family’s Moselle property.

11:40 a.m. EDT – Waters is detailing the checks made out to “Forge,” the fake account set up by Murdaugh to mimic the legitimate Forge Consulting, “It doesn’t make sense.”

11:38 a.m. EDT – Creighton Waters is on fire… “Again, when you consider what he’s trying to convince you think about the entire course of conduct here, and how these two men operated.”

11:34 a.m. EDT – Waters claims, “What Mr. Fleming, I think wants the court to believe, as even though the State Grand Jury initially reported to everyone that he was a victim of Mr. Murdaugh, just like everybody else, just like Mr. Murdaugh’s law partners, and just like his clients. He was tricked and fooled by Mr. Murdaugh just like him.” But Waters points out that at the same time he’s telling Pamela Pinckney he is taking care of her, he is using her money to charter a plane to go to a baseball game with Murdaugh.

Prosecutor Creighton Waters listens to testimony SLED Special Agent Peter Rudofski during Alex Murdaugh’s trial for murder at the Colleton County Courthouse on Friday, February 17, 2023. Joshua Boucher/The State/Pool

11:29 a.m. EDT – The sentencing of Cory Fleming has begun. Waters is detailing the charges to which Fleming has pleaded guilty. Waters asks judge Newman to detail the charges stating,”Your Honor, these allegations here, involve the use of state law licenses and state court actions before state judges with state court approved settlements.” Waters continues, “So ultimately, Mr. Fleming has admitted to a violation and abuse of the state judicial system.”

11:20 a.m. EDT – Judge Newman agrees to give Laffitte’s attorneys a month to figure out what is going on with his federal appeal. They will revisit a trial date in October. He’s now called for a 5 minute recess before they begin the sentencing of Cory Fleming.

11:18 a.m. EDT – Stunning hypocrisy from powerful lawyer-legislator Todd Rutherford. We just reported on how his perpetual invocation of his legislative immunity (which allows him to skip court pretty much as he pleases) is what is delaying cases, not prosecutors …

11:16 a.m. EDT

11:13 a.m. EDT – Moore tells Newman they expect to know today when Laffitte reports to federal prison today. They are awaiting word from U.S. district court judge Richard Gergel.

11:11 a.m. EDT – Waters tells Newman to give them a date and they will try one of these cases. They are ready.

11:06 a.m. EDT – Todd Rutherford claims the State wants him to waive his legislative immunity, which he is willing to do. He claims a December 2023 trial will interrupt with his duties as a member of the Judicial Merit Selection Committee.

11:02 a.m. EDT – Moore explains he has yet to cross reference the discovery in the federal case with the discovery in the State case. Waters understand the difficulties the defense team is facing, but believes fall of 2024 is too long to wait for a trial. Newman asks when co-defendant Spencer Roberts’ case is scheduled and Waters replies it is scheduled for December 18, 2023.

10:59 a.m. EDT – Waters states he isn’t unsympathetic to Laffitte’s defense, but it isn’t the fault of the State that Laffitte has switched attorneys, again. The State is happy to try Laffitte’s case in the fall, but is open to the spring of 2024. He does not want it to end up being deferred to the fall of 2024.

10:55 a.m. EDT – Defense attorney Mark Moore has asked to set the first trial for Laffitte for 2024 to allow him to prepare briefs for the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in his federal conviction.

10:53 a.m. EDT – Court is back in session after a brief recess. They’ve returned to discuss Russell Laffitte.

10:40 a.m. EDT – A deadline for motions relating to the November 17 trial is set for Thursday, November 9, 2023 and suggest with the amount of pre-trial issues might require a hearing prior to the trial. Harpootlian argues a motion hearing the morning of the trial.

10:34 a.m. EDT – Newman offers the choice of the trial beginning the week of November 13, November 27 or December 11, 2023. Harpootlian asks to confer and email by the end of the day. Newman says no. Harpootlian agrees to November 27, 2023. Newman is open to venue but notes the majority of charges are in Hampton County. Waters says the State’s preference is Beaufort, but they are open to Hampton. It’s official… Murdaugh will now go to trial for his alleged crimes against the family of his former housekeeper Gloria Satterfield on November 27, 2023 in Beaufort County General Sessions.

10:32 a.m. EDT – Harpootlian bites back and says this wasn’t Waters’ argument a year ago when made the decision to try the murder case before the financial crimes. Waters argues that he actually offered to try the financial crimes first, but the defense filed a motion for a speedy trial.

10:30 a.m. EDT – Waters argues this isn’t about a spectacle. The charges are serious and there are “allegations that represent an assault on the State judiciary.”

10:29 a.m. EDT – Harpootlian says judge Newman’s opinion of Murdaugh’s guilt is clear and asks for time to litigate the jury tampering allegations.

10:27 a.m. EDT – Harpootlian asks if they are going to go forward with the allegations of the clerk of court influencing the jury in his murder trial still being investigated. Newman replies likely not in Colleton County. Harpootlian asks why there is such a rush as Murdaugh is currently incarcerated.

10:26 a.m. EDT – Harpootlian begins making argument for change of venue, “Where are we going to try this case, Mars?” Judge Newman is not amused today.

10:22 a.m. EDT – Dick Harpootlian states the defense team has objections. Harpootlian has a Lexington County case in front of Judge McCaslin scheduled for October 14, 2023 which will take 2-3 weeks and Griffin has a conflict which will put the earliest possible start date in November of 2023.

10:18 a.m. EDT – Alex Murdaugh has entered the courtroom with a smile wearing his prison jumpsuit and shackles. Waters begins detailing his charges.

10:15 a.m. EDT – Attorney Mark Moore who represents Laffitte is explaining to Newman that Laffitte is scheduled to report to federal prison on September 21, 2023 and they are awaiting word on an appeal. Newman asks what the federal case has to do with the state case. Newman tells the court they will set Laffitte’s case aside and return to it. They will begin with discussion of the State’s case against Murdaugh.

10:12 a.m. EDT – Court is called to order. Judge Clifton Newman has entered. The first case up is the State vs. Russell Lucius Laffitte. Creighton Waters is going through the myriad of charges he is facing from the State. Judge Newman makes it clear they are not there to discuss a trial date, but to set a trial date.

10:06 a.m. EDT – From a fellow reporter covering this case, “Dick and Jim look cool as cucumbers and everyone else looks stressed.”

10:01 a.m. EDT – Lead prosecutor Creighton Waters is now conferring with attorney Justin Bamberg, who represents multiple parties in various Murdaugh matters. Most recently, Bamberg was retained to represent clerk Becky Hill in connection with the tampering allegations.

Attorneys Eric Bland and Justin Bamberg speaking before the September 14, 2023 status hearing in Beaufort County

9:58 a.m. EDT – Awaiting the start of the hearing, but just spotted Dylan Nolan’s mom in the audience!

9:39 a.m. EDT – Will being Will…

9:36 a.m. EDT – In case you missed the last hearing related to the various Murdaugh cases, financial co-conspirator Corey Fleming pretty much got his ass handed to him by the state…

9:29 a.m. EDT – Attorney Todd Rutherford has arrived in court. Rutherford represents Russell Laffitte. To view our most recent article on Rutherford, who is reportedly under federal investigation, click here

9:17 a.m. EDT – Russell Laffitte has entered the courtroom with his attorney Mark Moore of Maynard Nexsen. For some background on Laffitte’s role in this mess, click here

9:16 a.m. EDT – Becky Hill’s ethics attorney, Greg Harris, just pulled lead state prosecutor Creighton Waters off to the side for a private discussion. Interesting…

9:11 a.m. EDT – Dick Harpootlian is in court. He is speaking off to the side with attorney Greg Harris, who is representing Colleton County clerk of court Becky Hill on ethics charges tied to Murdaugh’s retrial request.

9:08 a.m. EDT

8:52 a.m. EDT – Welcome back to day 4,231 of the trial of Alex Murdaugh. Kidding. But anyone else having serious déjà vu? In addition to Murdaugh and his defense team, we expect to see Russell Laffitte and Cory Fleming along with their defense attorneys. Fleming’s lead attorney, Deborah Barbier was just spotted walking into the Beaufort County Courthouse.

8:41 a.m. EDT – Look for our livestream to begin at approximately 9:00 a.m. EDT …

8:34 a.m. EDT – Our amazing researcher Jenn Wood is about to sign on …

***

WANNA SOUND OFF?

Got something you’d like to say in response to one of our articles? Or an issue you’d like to proactively address? We have an open microphone policy here at FITSNews! Submit your letter to the editor (or guest column) via email HERE. Got a tip for a story? CLICK HERE. Got a technical question or a glitch to report? CLICK HERE.

***

Get our newsletter by clicking here …

*****

Related posts

Murdaughs

Becky Hill’s Text Messages Reveal Basis Of Latest Murdaugh Trial Allegation

Callie Lyons
Murdaughs

Special Referee Distributes Alex Murdaugh’s Money

Callie Lyons
Murdaughs

‘Unqualified’ South Carolina Judge Seeks To Fast Track Murdaugh ‘Outrage’ Case

Will Folks

5 comments

Edward Pardue Top fan September 14, 2023 at 9:02 am

Where is link?

Reply
tuphat September 14, 2023 at 12:03 pm

“Creighton Waters is on fire.” Boy & how! Burning down Cory’s house, he’s gonna be very lucky if his state sentence doesn’t exceed his fed sentence. If so, will he have to do the diff in state pen?

Reply
Mrs dean wormer September 14, 2023 at 1:37 pm

My compliments to whoever is operating the camera. Nicely framed shots, frequently able to see both the speaker and defendant, as well as spectators etc. Periodically panning over to judge is also helpful.

Reply
Avatar photo
The Colonel Top fan September 14, 2023 at 2:49 pm

Ouch – I almost want to feel sorry for Cory, almost. Creighton Waters is laying all of the dirty laundry out there for the world to see as he digs the hole deeper and deeper, and Cory just has to sit quietly and take it. Barbier will be shoveling dirt in that hole all day to even get Fleming back to a point where he can see daylight.

Reply
Dexter Lakeclub September 14, 2023 at 4:00 pm

Once again, Judge Newman should make the people of South Carolina very, very proud in his thoughtful administration of justice. The polar opposite of the lawyer and banker leeches which sit as criminal before him.

Reply

Leave a Comment