HAMPTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A South Carolina Judge is under fire for her alleged handling of a case and wrongful death settlement that involved suspended Attorney Alex Murdaugh.
The allegations were made by Chad Westendorf, Vice President of Palmetto State Bank and known associate of Alex Murdaugh. Westendorf served as the personal representative for the Estate of Gloria Satterfield, the Murdaugh family’s longtime housekeeper who died in 2018 after allegedly falling at the Murdaugh’s home.
Westendorf told Satterfield Attorneys Ronnie Richter and Eric Bland in the more than 100-page deposition that he agreed to take the position at the request of Murdaugh, despite being unfamiliar with the process of being a personal representative for an estate.
Westendorf also claimed Judge Carmen Mullen took actions to bury the Satterfield death settlement in order to protect Murdaugh from pending lawsuits related to a 2019 boat crash in which Murdaugh’s youngest son, Paul, was allegedly drinking and driving. Multiple passengers were injured and 19-year-old Mallory Beach was killed.
Documents show the second of two settlement discussions for the wrongful death settlement took place in Judge Mullen’s chambers in March of 2019, just a month after the boat crash. Judge Mullen recused herself from any and all legal proceedings related to the boat crash, citing a close connection to the Murdaugh family, but continued to oversee the death settlement action.
Westendorf claimed Judge Mullen removed Murdaugh’s name from the Satterfield death settlement and delayed making portions of the settlement public, which they hoped would protect him from financial liability in pending lawsuits tied to the boat accident.
“According to Chad Westendorf, if his testimony is to be believed – in chambers it was made known that the parties did not want the settlement made part of the public record and they did not want do that specifically for the purpose of protecting Alex Murdaugh,” Satterfield attorney Ronnie Richter explained.
Richter said Westendorf gave the same statement to the FBI, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, and State Supreme Court under oath. The allegations have been reported the to the South Carolina Judiciary Branch.
News 2 has reached out to Judge Mullen and her office; we are awaiting a response.