RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – A virtual bond hearing was held Thursday morning for Cory Fleming, a longtime friend, and alleged co-conspirator of Alex Murdaugh.
Fleming, who was suspended from practicing law by the SC Supreme Court in October 2021, is facing more than a dozen charges – most of them connected to the death settlement of the Murdaugh’s longtime housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield.
State Grand Jury Presiding Judge Alison Renee Lee handed down a $100,000 bond for Fleming during Thursday’s hearing.
Fleming is accused of taking a portion of the death settlement while helping Alex Murdaugh defraud the Satterfield out of millions of dollars. Fleming faces 18 state grand jury judges.
Creighton Waters, Chief Attorney with Attorney General Alan Wilson’s Office argued Fleming was aware of the insurance fraud scheme orchestrated by Alex Murdaugh saying Fleming willingly participated and took a cut of the stolen money.
“Mr. Fleming also directed the staff to prepare fraudulent disbursement sheets to support these disbursements to cover up what was being done,” says Waters.
Fleming’s defense argues the suspended attorney trusted Murdaugh to disburse the death settlement money and was a victim of Murdaugh.
The charges are related to the death settlement money that was supposed to go to the Murdaugh’s housekeeper Gloria Satterfield who died in an alleged trip and fall accident at the Murdaugh’s home. Fleming represented the Satterfield Estate against Murdaugh at Alex’s request.
Prosecutors say evidence shows Fleming knew the money was going to a fake bank account under the name of Richard A Murdaugh Sole d.b.a Forge and agreed to take a portion of the settlement money while drafting fraudulent checks.
“This was done so because Mr. Fleming at the time had not very much money in his account and had some very important bills that needed to be paid that could not have been paid but for misappropriating those funds,” says Waters.
Attorneys for Satterfield’s estate say stiff penalties need to be set to send a message to those who worked with Murdaugh.
“He is a personal embarrassment to our profession,” says Eric Bland an Attorney representing the Estate of Gloria Satterfield. “You can’t work in concert with people like Alex Murdaugh and it’s the job of somebody like Cory Fleming to be the guardian for our clients to protect them.”
Fleming’s defense claims the longtime friend of Murdaugh was a victim trusting Murdaugh to make sure the money was handled appropriately.
“This is not Alex Murdaugh, this is a completely different situation, a completely different case and they’re completely different people,” says Deborah Barbier, Attorney for Fleming.
Judge Lee agreed Fleming was a risk to the community or himself but says it doesn’t change what happened.
“I don’t think that he is in the same position at all as Alex Murdaugh and I don’t consider him to be in that same category to that extent,” says Judge Lee.
Fleming was granted a $100,000 surety bond with a %10 cash option allowing Fleming to bond out at $10,000. Fleming must surrender his passport and remain in the state.
Murdaugh is also facing four new charges. There is no word on when he will go before a bond judge.
This is a developing story and will be updated.