Attorney general’s office clarifies prison sentence imposed on ex-lawyer

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 5:56 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 18, 2023 at 6:48 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office says the former lawyer linked to Alex Murdaugh faces a shorter sentence than originally reported.

Cory Fleming was sentenced Thursday in Beaufort County on state charges ranging from breach of trust with fraudulent intent to money laundering and criminal conspiracy.

Attorney General’s Office spokesman Robert Kittle confirmed Monday afternoon that Fleming’s actual sentence amounts to 13 years and 10 months in prison, not the 20 years originally reported.

At the time Judge Clifton Newman read the various sentences to the charges to which Fleming pleaded guilty, it sounded like he had been sentenced to a total of 20 years. That was based on a group of sentences, the longest of which was 10 years, which he said would run concurrently, meaning at the same time. Newman then sentenced Fleming to an additional 10-year sentence on another charge that Newman said would run consecutively, meaning after the earlier sentence.

But Kittle said on Monday that when the office confirmed the 20-year sentence, it had not yet received the sentencing paperwork from the court.

“Once we got those, they say that one of the 10-year state sentences is consecutive to the federal sentence, but the second 10-year sentence is concurrent to both,” Kittle said.

Federal Judge Richard Gergel previously sentenced Fleming to 46 months, almost four years, on federal charges after Fleming pleaded guilty to them.

Gergel said he would send a message to Newman that no more time behind bars should result from the state charges. But at Fleming’s sentencing on the state charges, Newman said he did not allow federal courts to influence the sentences Newman imposes.

The charges stem from accusations that he conspired with Murdaugh to take money from a wrongful death settlement from the estate of Gloria Satterfield. Satterfield was Murdaugh’s longtime housekeeper who died after what was described as a “trip-and-fall” accident at Murdaugh’s home in February of 2018.

Members of Satterfield’s family spoke at the sentencing hearing along with those who supported Fleming and asked Newman to be merciful in handing down his sentence.

Shortly after Newman handed down the sentence, Attorney General Alan Wilson released a statement, saying that in South Carolina, “no one is above the law.”