Alex Murdaugh, a South Carolina lawyer charged with trying to arrange his own death, reportedly obtained a $4.3 million settlement in the death of his housekeeper in his home, according to a lawyer for the housekeeper’s family, the Associated Press said.
The Murdaugh family’s housekeeper and nanny, Gloria Satterfield, died in February 2018 after tripping over the family dog, a lawyer for her sons told reporters.
At the funeral, Murdaugh persuaded Satterfield’s sons to hire Corey Fleming as their lawyer for a wrongful death settlement with his insurance company, the AP said. Murdaugh did not disclose that Fleming was a longtime friend, an old college roommate and godfather to at least one of Murdaugh’s sons.
Attorney Eric Bland said there were two settlements in the case, according to the AP. One, which Murdaugh and Fleming arranged, was for $505,000 and appeared in public court records, but Satterfield’s sons have not seen any of the money, Bland said. A second settlement, for $4.3 million, was with a different insurer and was never revealed to the sons or placed in the public court docket, the AP said.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
Murdaugh also tried to convince a friend of his son to use the same lawyer again without revealing their friendship as investigators tried to sort out who was driving a boat in a 2019 fatal crash, according to a lawsuit filed this week. Murdaugh’s son would eventually be charged.
That son, Paul Murdaugh, was killed along with his mother, Maggie, in an unsolved shooting at the family’s home in June. Since the deaths, state police have started a half-dozen investigations into the Murdaugh family.
Alex Murdaugh remains in out-of-state drug rehab, which he entered shortly before being charged with insurance fraud and filing a false police report for trying to arrange his own death on September 4 so his surviving son could collect his $10 million life insurance policy. Authorities said the shot from a hitman only grazed Murdaugh, leaving him able to call 911.
This week’s revelations surrounding Murdaugh involved two lawsuits that said he tried to manipulate the legal system—one to prevent his housekeeper’s sons from collecting on her insurance policy and a second to try to prevent criminal trouble for his son in the boat crash.
Bland said he is turning the information over to the State Law Enforcement Division, which is investigating Satterfield’s death after a coroner said the accidental death was never reported to her office.
Fleming did not respond to an email or phone message. Murdaugh’s lawyers have not commented about Satterfield’s death or other lawsuits.
Fleming is also prominent in a lawsuit by Connor Cook, who was in a boat that crashed in 2019, killing a 19-year-old woman.
The night of the crash, investigators were not sure if Cook or Paul Murdaugh was driving the boat. Alex Murdaugh approached Cook in the hallway of a hospital as he headed to get his jaw X-rayed and told him everything would be all right if he would “keep his mouth shut,” according to Cook’s lawsuit.
Alex Murdaugh then encouraged Cook to hire Fleming as his attorney without revealing their relationship, the lawsuit said.
Fleming became Cook’s lawyer and told him not to talk to investigators and that set him up to be falsely identified as the driver of the boat, the suit said.
It was not until Cook hired a new lawyer and spoke to prosecutors that Paul Murdaugh was charged with boating under the influence causing death, a charged pending when he was killed.
The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating whether Alex Murdaugh or other friends or family members tried to obstruct the investigation into the boat crash as well as the questions surrounding Satterfield’s death. They also are seeing if the family was involved in a 2015 hit-and-run, unraveling the shooting of Murdaugh this month on a lonely highway and looking into millions of dollars missing from the law firm that fired Murdaugh earlier this month.
All those investigations started after the June 7 deaths of Paul Murdaugh, 22, and his mother, Maggie, 52. Investigators have released few details about the killings beyond both were shot several tines outside their Colleton County home, likely dying less than an hour after Alex Murdaugh said he came home and discovered their bodies.