Alex Murdaugh hid settlement of more than $4 million from family of his late housekeeper, her son testifies


Disgraced South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh by no means advised the household of his late housekeeper that he collected greater than $4 million in insurance coverage settlements after she fell at his dwelling, in response to testimony at his double homicide trial Friday.

Exterior the presence of the jury, Choose Clifton Newman heard testimony about Murdaugh’s alleged monetary schemes because the courtroom weighs whether or not to permit the admission of such proof.

Prosecutors need the proof of economic wrongdoing admitted to indicate that the scion of one of many state’s strongest households was, of their phrases, a determined thief on the verge of being uncovered on the time of the 2021 murders of his spouse and grownup son.

Protection attorneys have portrayed the defendant as a loving father and husband being prosecuted after a poorly dealt with investigation whereas the actual killers stay at massive.

Michael Satterfield, a son of Gloria Satterfield, who labored as housekeeper for the Murdaugh household for greater than 20 years, testified within the second week of the homicide trial. She died a number of weeks after a fall on the Murdaugh dwelling in 2018.

Satterfield’s son advised the courtroom that Murdaugh provided to “go after my insurance coverage firm” to assist their household with medical payments and different bills.

Michael Satterfield testified that Murdaugh at one level stated Satterfield and his brother might every get $100,000 from the insurance coverage firm. They by no means received the cash, he testified. And Murdaugh by no means talked about a $5 million umbrella coverage that he had along with a coverage for a smaller quantity.

In June 2021, Michael Satterfield testified, his household heard their case was settled however Murdaugh didn’t disclose that he had collected on two settlements – one for greater than $500,000 and one other for $3.8 million.

“Did he get your permission to steal your cash?” Waters requested.


“Did you ever get one cent from Alex Murdaugh?” Waters requested later.


In December 2021, an lawyer for the Satterfield household stated Murdaugh agreed to a $4.3 million settlement with the household. He additionally issued an apology to the Satterfields.

The primary witness known as Friday, additionally outdoors the jury’s presence, was Jan Malinowski, president and CEO of Palmetto State Financial institution. Palmetto’s former president, Russell Laffitte, was convicted of six counts of economic fraud crimes in November.

Malinowski, who testified at Laffitte’s trial, advised the courtroom that Murdaugh’s mounting debt to the financial institution was repeatedly lined, with out justification, by loans from Laffite.

In August 2021, two months after the murders, Murdaugh’s account had an overdraft of greater than $350,000, Malinowski testified. Laffitte responded with a $400,000 switch to the defendant’s account.

Murdaugh on the time owed the financial institution greater than $4 million, Malinowski testified.

Would the loans have stored coming had the financial institution identified “that Murdaugh had been stealing cash from his companions or … his shoppers?” requested Creighton Waters, a prosecutor with the South Carolina Legal professional Normal’s Workplace – which is prosecuting the case due to the Murdaugh household’s lengthy ties with the native solicitor’s workplace.

“No sir,” the CEO replied.

Waters, eliciting laughter within the courtroom, stated the financial institution had “maybe essentially the most beneficiant overdraft coverage ever seen.”

“Fairly presumably,” Malinowski replied with a slight smile.

Prosecutors, in pretrial filings, accuse Murdaugh of killing his spouse, Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, and his 22-year-old son Paul Murdaugh to distract consideration from alleged monetary crimes, which the state contends had been about to come back to gentle once they had been killed on June 7, 2021.

Along with the homicide counts, he faces 99 prices associated to these purported schemes.

A pretrial movement from the state contended “the murders served as Murdaugh’s means to shift the main focus away from himself and purchase some further time to attempt to stop his monetary crimes from being uncovered, which, if revealed, would have resulted in private authorized and monetary break for Murdaugh.”

The protection has fought the admissibility of the proof within the homicide case, asserting the fraud instances are irrelevant to the query of Murdaugh’s guilt within the murders of his spouse and son.

Murdaugh, who was disbarred amid a mountain of allegations of white-collar theft and fraud, faces 99 prices stemming from 19 grand jury indictments, together with allegedly defrauding his shoppers and former legislation agency of practically $9 million, in response to the lawyer common’s workplace.

Below every case, Murdaugh faces the potential for two sentences of life in jail with out the potential for parole if convicted.

On Thursday, the chief monetary officer of Murdaugh’s former legislation agency testified about confronting the now-disbarred lawyer about lacking funds the morning his spouse and son had been killed.

Jeanne Seckinger, CFO of the agency previously referred to as PMPED, testified outdoors the jury’s presence.

The morning of the murders, Seckinger confronted Murdaugh about $792,000 in lacking funds, she stated Thursday, testifying that authorized charges ought to have been made payable to the legislation agency – renamed to Parker Regulation Group after Murdaugh’s ouster – and to not particular person attorneys.

However Seckinger and different members of the agency realized in Could 2021 they’d not obtained a payment verify stemming from a settlement signed in a case Murdaugh shared with one other lawyer, Seckinger testified, which was a priority.

On the time, Murdaugh was dealing with a lawsuit from the household of 19-year-old Mallory Seashore, who was killed in February 2019 when a ship, owned by Murdaugh and allegedly pushed by Paul, struck a bridge piling.

Murdaugh’s monetary information – which state courtroom filings stated “would expose (Murdaugh) for his years of alleged misdeeds” – might have been disclosed following a listening to within the civil case scheduled for June 10, 2021, three days after the killings.

However the June 10 listening to was canceled after Maggie and Paul’s deaths, Seckinger stated Thursday, and the agency opted to not confront Murdaugh in regards to the lacking cash.

Finally, the agency did confront Murdaugh in regards to the lacking cash and “it was my understanding that Alex admitted it,” Seckinger testified.

Earlier than the agency might announce Murdaugh’s resignation, nevertheless, Seckinger testified she heard Murdaugh had been shot whereas on the facet of the street. Murdaugh later advised authorities he conspired with a former consumer to kill him as a part of an insurance coverage fraud scheme, purportedly so his surviving son might accumulate a $10 million life insurance coverage payout.

Lastly, the courtroom on Friday heard from a ballistics knowledgeable who advised the courtroom the .300 Blackout rifle cartridge casings discovered close to Maggie’s physique had equivalent markings to older casings discovered close to the Murdaugh dwelling in addition to at a taking pictures vary on their property.

The older casings discovered close to the home and within the taking pictures vary “had those self same matching mechanism marks to conclude they’d been loaded into, extracted and ejected from the identical firearm as these on the crime scene round Margaret Murdaugh’s physique,” Paul Greer, a firearm examiner with the South Carolina Regulation Enforcement Division, testified.

The prosecution has stated Maggie was killed with a .300 Blackout AR-15 rifle that was a “household weapon” however the weapon has but to be discovered.

Throughout cross-examination by the protection on Friday, Greer stated it’s “arduous to say” whether or not completely different .300 Blackout rifles might create the identical markings on casings – however reaffirmed he was assured in his findings.

Greer take a look at fired one .300 Blackout rifle discovered within the gun room on the Murdaugh property and stated the outcomes had been inconclusive on whether or not its ejected casings had been an actual match with the casings discovered round Maggie’s physique – however he stated if the casings weren’t from that precise weapon, they got here from one equivalent to it.

Prosecutors have additionally stated the Murdaughs owned different AR-style rifles, together with one Murdaugh purchased his son to switch one other that went lacking. The prosecution has stated the substitute is “nowhere to be discovered.”

Greer had related testimony when the protection requested if Paul was killed with the camouflage-patterned gun Alex Murdaugh had on him when first responders arrived on the crime scene. The knowledgeable stated he take a look at fired that gun and the outcomes had been inconclusive. Greer testified he couldn’t inform whether or not the casings had been a match, however that it was potential the gun – or a weapon with related traits – killed Paul.