Alex Murdaugh defense spars with alleged hitman over medical records in botched suicide plot
Alex Murdaugh’s attorney admits disgraced lawyer knows he’s going to jail
Criminal defense attorney Brian Claypool reacts to the latest development in the Murdaugh family murder mystery saga
Alex Murdaugh’s medical records from an alleged botched suicide shooting were released, as his defense attorneys continue to spar with an alleged hitman, Curtis “Fast Eddie” Smith, who made national news appearances last week claiming the disgraced South Carolina legal scion was never shot.
Much speculation has surrounded the alleged roadside shooting Labor Day weekend after Murdaugh showed up in a Hampton County courtroom 12 days later with no bandages or visible injuries. These records come to light as Murdaugh also was arrested and charged Thursday in connection to insurance settlement money obtained following the death of the family’s longtime housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield.
Charged with two counts of obtaining property by false pretenses, Murdaugh was taken into custody in Orlando, Florida upon his release from a drug rehabilitation facility. He was extradited to Richland County, S.C., where he was booked into the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center Saturday.
Two Democratic heavyweight attorneys representing Murdaugh, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, on Friday provided several news outlets with four pages of medical notes from Memorial Health in Savannah, Georgia, documenting Murdaugh’s wounds on Sept. 4. Murdaugh initially called 911 on Sept. 4, telling dispatchers he was on the way to the beach but got a flat tire and was changing the flat when someone fired at him from a moving truck. He was airlifted to a hospital in Savannah, Georgia and later entered rehab to treat an opioid addiction, his lawyers claim.
He then changed his story. Murdaugh later contacted the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to confess that he allegedly hired his former legal client and alleged drug dealer, Curtis “Fast Eddie” Smith to shoot him so his only surviving son, Buster Murdaugh, could collect a $10 million life insurance. The suicide scheme was botched, Murdaugh claims, and Smith only grazed him in the head.
“[Alex Murdaugh] has indicated clearly that he is going to try to right every wrong – financial wrong – and others that he may have committed. Look, he’s reconciled to the fact he’s going to prison. He understands that. He’s a lawyer,” Harpootlian said Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “Eddie Smith is not telling the truth, and he obviously has reasons not to tell the truth.”
Harpootlian reiterated that hospital medical records show Murdaugh has two bullet wounds to the head, his skull was fractured, he had a brain bleed and he put in the intensive care unit. Harpootlian also doubled down on his claim that Smith was indeed Murdaugh’s drug dealer.
Smith, alongside his attorney, Jonny McCoy, appeared on NBC’s “TODAY” show on Thursday. He claimed he had no prior knowledge of any insurance scheme before bringing over his truck to meet Murdaugh on Sept. 4. On the roadside, Smith claimed Murdaugh asked him to shoot him, but Smith refused. When Murdaugh motioned to shoot himself instead, Smith wrestled him for the gun, which went off.
Smith told “TODAY” he was “1,000” percent sure Murdaugh was never shot. In a promotional clip of an interview with CBS’ “48 Hours,” which is set to air in full in a few weeks, Smith again denied Murdaugh was shot and said he was not the disgraced attorney’s drug dealer.
“He wanted me to kill him,” Smith said during a portion of the interview that aired on “CBS Mornings” Sunday. “If I hadn’t took [taken] the gun, I don’t know what he would have done.”
“Of course, Curtis is like anybody else, ‘Are you insane? What are you doing?” McCoy added. “No crime was committed.”
If he’s guilty of anything, Smith said it’s “trusting too much.”
“The public is going to have to make a determination at this point as to which of two scenarios is more likely. The scenario put out by Mr. Murdaugh is that he called my client in a suicidal state and requested our client shoot him for no apparent reason and then our client just obliged,” another one of Smith’s attorneys, Jarrett Bouchette, told The Greenville News on Friday. “Or the other scenario we believe is more likely in which in that situation he was requesting our client to shoot him, our client refused and wrestled the gun away from him and at some point the gun went off. I think the latter is infinitely more likely.”
Before Murdaugh was arrested again last week, he had begun phase two of his recovery after first completing medical detox at a facility in Atlanta.
Murdaugh was already charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report in connection to an alleged Sept. 4 shooting. His last court appearance was on Sept. 16 , when Hampton County Magistrate Judge Tonja Alexander set Murdaugh’s bond at $20,000, and he was released on his own recognizance, allowed to return to an out-of-state rehabilitation facility without GPS monitoring.
Smith’s bond was set at $55,000 and he also was later released.
According to two warrants released by SLED Saturday, Gloria Satterfield, the Murdaugh family’s 57-year-old nanny and housekeeper, “fell and hit her head” at Murdaugh’s home located on Moselle Road in Islandtown on Feb. 2, 2018. She later had a stroke, went into cardiac arrest and died on Feb. 26, 2018. Murdaugh coordinated with Satterfield’s family “to sue himself in order to seek an insurance settlement with the stated intent to give the proceeds to the Satterfield family to pay for funeral expenses and monetary compensation for Satterfield’s children,” the affidavits say.
Murdaugh recommended the Satterfield family hire Corey Fleming, of Moss, Kuhn and Fleming law firm in Beaufort, S.C., to represent them. Fleming brokered an initial insurance settlement in the amount of $505,000. The Satterfield family were never notified of the settlement, the warrants say.
On Jan. 7, 2019, Fleming wrote a check from an account belonging to his law firm in the amount of $403,500 to “Forge.” Murdaugh “created and owned a bank account titled ‘Forge’ and directed Fleming to write the check to it to deprive the Satterfield family of insurance settlements owed to them by converting the $403,500 to Mr. Murdaugh’s own use,” an affidavit says.
Forge Consulting, LLC, is a legitimate company that handles insurance settlements, but is not affiliated with the Satterfield settlement or the account owned by Murdaugh, the affidavits say. Murdaugh titled the account “Forge” as a “misrepresentation in order to facilitate and conceal misappropriation of funds in question.”
Fleming brokered additional insurance settlements in the amount of approximately $4,305,000. A settlement agreement stipulated that $2,765,000 was designated for the Satterfield family. But the Satterfield family again were never notified of the settlements or received any of the proceeds from them, the affidavit says. The settlement agreement was not properly filed in court record.
On May 13, 2019, Fleming again wrote a check in the amount of $2,961,911.95 to “Forge.”
Fleming, who was also Murdaugh’s former college roommate and godfather to his son, Paul Murdaugh, had his law license suspended over his handling of the matter. Murdaugh is reportedly considered a person of interest in the June 7 killings of his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul, after the two were found shot dead on the family’s hunting estate in Colleton County. No arrests have been made in connection to the unsolved double murders.
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