Alex Murdaugh is set to be sentenced today for nearly 2 dozen financial crimes

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By Dianne Gallagher and Dakin Andone

(CNN) — Alex Murdaugh – the disgraced former South Carolina attorney serving two life sentences for the murders of his wife and son – is set to be sentenced on Tuesday for nearly two dozen state financial crimes, including money laundering, breach of trust, conspiracy, forgery and tax evasion.

Tuesday’s sentencing hearing comes after Murdaugh pleaded guilty earlier this month in a plea deal that prosecutor Creighton Waters of the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office said would ensure Murdaugh remained “in state prison for a very long time.”

Prosecutors are seeking a sentence of 27 years in prison, Waters said in court Tuesday, which would be independent of the two sentences of life without parole he is already serving.

“I just want you to know that we are very satisfied that this is a very, very strong sentence that has been agreed to by the parties,” said attorney Eric “EB” Bland, who, along with his partner Ronnie Richter, represents a number of Murdaugh’s victims.

“It sends a clarion bell signal to not only attorneys, but to anybody who wants to victimize the vulnerable.”

Murdaugh was facing dozens of state charges that accused him of carrying out a variety of schemes to defraud his clients, his law firm partners and other victims of millions of dollars.

Ahead of the sentencing, Waters described the “morass” of crimes Murdaugh carried out over the course of years, relying on his own power, influence and the legacy of his family to deceive and steal from his victims.

“There were so many individuals that were trusting of Alex Murdaugh, and that is how this decadelong scheme was able to take place,” Waters said. “Ultimately we had people who came to Mr. Murdaugh for help, people that he told he was going to help. And in many instances, there was significant funds that Mr. Murdaugh paid to those individuals.”

“But that was how the scheme usually worked,” he said. “It was a sleight of hand. It was where he was handing them a check and had their focus on that, that he was able to steal money from them behind their back.”

One exception to that strategy was the case of Gloria Satterfield, the Murdaughs’ longtime housekeeper who died after a fall at the family’s home. Murdaugh coordinated with the family to sue himself and seek an insurance settlement for Satterfield’s family, according to affidavits released by state authorities.

But Satterfield’s sons never saw a dime, Waters said Tuesday. Instead, Murdaugh took the funds and used them to make payments on credit cards and various loans he’d taken from the bank, his father and law partners.

Murdaugh agreed to a $4.3 million settlement with Satterfield’s family in December 2021.

“You lied, you cheated, you stole, you betrayed me and my family and everybody else. And you did it at the cost of my mom’s death,” Tony Satterfield, Gloria’s son, told Murdaugh in court Tuesday.

“I want you to know that I forgive you. I will pray for you everyday that god gets ahold of your heart” he said. “My heart is with you, my prayers are with you, and I just wish the best for you.”

In court on November 17, asked by Judge Clifton Newman if he agreed with the description of the crimes, Murdaugh responded, “I agree that I wrongly took all of that money and did all of those crimes. I disagree with some of the narrative.”

“I am guilty and I believe I would be found guilty,” he said. “I am glad to finally be given the opportunity to plead guilty.”

Newman will have to ultimately approve the deal, and he said at the time of Murdaugh’s plea hearing that his acceptance would be contingent on its meeting all requirements from the state’s Victims’ Bill of Rights.

Murdaugh separately pleaded guilty in September to nearly two dozen federal charges that similarly alleged he stole millions of dollars from his clients. He has not been sentenced on those charges.

While Waters said the state plea deal would bring “finality” to the matter of Murdaugh’s financial crimes, his legal saga could continue: Murdaugh started the process to appeal his convictions of the murders of his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul, at the family’s hunting estate in June 2021.

But the appeal is on hold, while his defense team pursues a motion for a new trial based on allegations that Colleton County Clerk of Court Becky Hill tampered with the jury. She has denied those allegations.

The-CNN-Wire
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