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Alex Murdaugh asks to be released from $4.3 million judgment in lawsuit by late housekeeper’s sons

Alex Murdaugh (L) and Gloria Satterfield (R)

Alex Murdaugh, left, and Gloria Satterfield, right. (South Carolina Department of Corrections; Bland Richter, LLP)

Attorneys for convicted double murderer Alex Murdaugh are asking a judge to vacate a $4.3 million judgment related to the theft of an insurance payout he received following the death of his housekeeper on his property more than five years ago.

Murdaugh entered a $4.3 million confession of judgment in May 2022 in a lawsuit filed by the sons of his late housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield. Tony Satterfield and his brother, Brian Harriot, sued Murdaugh after it came to light that he pocketed the $4.3 million insurance payouts from Lloyd’s of London and Nautilus instead of paying the money to the brothers.

Gloria Satterfield fell on the front steps of Murdaugh’s Moselle property in February 2018. Murdaugh’s wife, Maggie, and son, Paul, told a 911 call taker that Satterfield was bleeding from the head and they needed help. Satterfield died more than three weeks later in the hospital.

The cause of Satterfield’s fall has been disputed. Murdaugh told an insurance investigator in 2018 that she told him the dogs caused her to fall. But, according to the request to vacate the judgment filed by his attorneys, Satterfield told a neurosurgeon at the hospital, “She didn’t know why she fell.” Murdaugh claims he made up the story about the dogs to ensure the insurance claim would be paid.

Tony Satterfield testified at Murdaugh’s murder trial that Alex Murdaugh approached him after his mother’s death and proposed he and his brother sue him to help pay for medical bills. Murdaugh introduced them to his friend, Cory Fleming. Fleming represented the brothers in the matter. Murdaugh deposited some of the money he received from the insurance companies into a “Forge” account at the Bank of America.

To date, attorneys Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter say they have recovered more than $7 million for Gloria Satterfield’s sons from Bank of America, Palmetto State Bank and others involved in the scheme unwittingly or otherwise.

In a 27-page motion filed by Murdaugh’s lawyers, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, they ask a judge to vacate the $4.3 million judgment because the claims made against the insurance companies were based on a lie about Satterfield falling after tripping over the dogs. Harpootlian and Griffin say Satterfield’s sons were never entitled to the funds from the fraud.

“It is unlikely Bank of America would have paid a substantial amount to the Satterfield family had it known the Satterfield family was not entitled to the money deposited into Mr. Murdaugh’s fake Forge account,” the attorneys wrote.

However, Murdaugh’s attorneys conceded the Satterfields have a claim against Murdaugh and that he lied to Tony Satterfield to orchestrate the fraud.

The motion also accuses Bland of misconduct by engaging in a “campaign of extrajudicial statements” to attack Murdaugh’s credibility. The motion cites several instances in which Bland spoke about Murdaugh negatively in the press and even argued against him being granted bond at a hearing.

The motion states Bland insisted on getting a confession of judgment from Murdaugh for $4.3 million last year. Bland is quoted as calling the judgment “monopoly money.”

Law&Crime’s Angenette Levy asked Bland and Richter during a press conference last week whether they feared having to pay back the money they had obtained for the Satterfield brothers. They said they were not concerned since the money came from sources other than Murdaugh and the insurance payouts.

However, Harpootlian and Griffin call that argument “nonsense” and say that it is made on social media rather than in a courtroom. They also claim having Murdaugh pay the judgment keeps other victims from being paid for their claims against Murdaugh. Court-appointed receivers control Murdaughs’ money.

Bland responded to the motion by calling it “legal toilet paper” and reiterated that Murdaugh is “a thief and a liar.” He also took issue with Harpootlian and Griffin revealing “confidential settlement discussions.”

Murdaugh faces criminal charges related to the Satterfield fraud in a separate case.

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Angenette Levy is a correspondent and host for the Law&Crime Network. Angenette has worked in newsrooms in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Cincinnati, Ohio. She has covered a number of high-profile criminal cases in both state and federal courts throughout her career including the trials of Steven Avery, Brooke “Skylar” Richardson and most recently the trials of Kyle Rittenhouse and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. She was nominated for an Emmy in 2015 for a story she covered in which she found a missing toddler who was the subject of an Amber Alert. Angenette is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati.