Cory Fleming pleads guilty to role in Murdaugh plot to steal $4.3 million from dead housekeeper
Published in News & Features
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Once he stood beside people accused of crimes, representing them in their time of trial.
But on Thursday, Cory Fleming — a once-respected criminal defense lawyer from Beaufort and close friend of now-convicted double-murderer Alex Murdaugh — stood in front of federal Judge Richard Gergel and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a scheme involving the theft of $4.3 million.
The crime to which Fleming, 54, pleaded guilty involved his role in a plot to steal $4.3 million in insurance proceeds from the sons of the Murdaugh family’s housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who died of injuries received in a fall on Murdaugh’s estate in February 2018.
“You knew that was wrong?” Gergel asked, telling Fleming it was “not every day I have an attorney before me.”
“Yes, sir,” Fleming said.
After prosecutor Emily Limehouse detailed the complex scheme by which Murdaugh and Fleming, at Murdaugh’s direction, stole the $4.3 million, Gergel continued to question Fleming about the plot’s fine points.
Gergel noted that prosecutors had pledged to recommend that Fleming serve his time — he could get a maximum of five years — in federal prison. But, Gergel told Fleming, if a state judge sentences him to more time in prison, “there is no guarantee” that he wouldn’t spend a portion of his time in state prison.
“Yes, sir,” Fleming said, acknowledging that he understood.
Fleming, who attended court with his wife, Eve, was given a personal recognizance bond of $25,000, meaning he doesn’t have to put up any money.
Deborah Barbier, Fleming’s attorney, told Magistrate Judge Molly Cherry Thursday that as of this week, Fleming has given up his license to practice law in both South Carolina and Georgia.
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