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Mysteries follow death of Alex Murdaugh’s housekeeper

Disgraced South Carolina legal scion Alex Murdaugh plotted with another lawyer to steal $4 million from the children of his longtime housekeeper, who mysteriously died at the attorney’s home in 2018, a lawyer representing her children claims.

“It’s hard to believe that one family can create this kind of turmoil, you know?” said Eric Bland about the mess he said was created for Gloria Satterfield’s family.

“Greed, power, betrayal. All the bad things. It’s like a Grisham novel. He doesn’t have to write fiction, he can just come to South Carolina and write the truth.”

Bland filed a suit against Murdaugh Wednesday on behalf of Satterfield’s sons, prompting officials to open an investigation into her death later that day.

Bland said that a lawyer for one of the defendants named in the lawsuit suit revealed the staggering sum Thursday.

Satterfield, 57, died after Murdaugh said she tripped over his dogs, according to the lawsuit. She was in a coma for three weeks before dying and never was able to tell her side of the story, Bland said. No autopsy was ever conducted, according to Hampton County Coroner Angela Topper, who told authorities Wednesday that the death was suspicious.

After Satterfield’s funeral, Murdaugh, 53, told her sons “he was going to take care” of them, and agreed to pay them $500,000 after suing himself to collect on personal liability insurance, Bland’s lawsuit alleged.

Alex Murdaugh walks into his bond hearing in Varnville, South Carolina on September 16, 2021.
AP Photo/Mic Smith

“It’s so strange to think that somebody is going to take litigants to an attorney and tell that attorney I want you to sue me,” Bland said.

That lawyer, unbeknownst to the Satterfield family, was Alex’s college roommate and best friend, Cory Fleming, according to the suit. Murdaugh also allegedly appointed non-family member Chad Westendorf as the Satterfields’ personal representative in negotiations without the sons’ knowledge.

“You do that so you don’t have to keep the family informed of what’s going on,” Bland said.

“Settlements start happening. Nobody’s telling the family. They never found out. The only reason they found out is because of reporters… started digging [after son Paul Murdaugh was arrested for a 2019 deadly drunk boating accident],” the lawyer said.

“At the end of 2020 our clients called us and said, ‘Wait a minute. Mom’s claim settled for $505,000? We didn’t get any of that money.’”

Bland said he learned on Thursday that multiple insurers actually paid out $4 million to Fleming, and his clients never saw a dime of it. He quickly sent a complaint to the state’s bar association, he said.

Fleming did not immediately respond to multiple requests for an interview by The Post.

Murdaugh turned himself in to police Thursday. He faces charges of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud in connection after admitting he orchestrated his own shooting on Sept. 4 — which he survived — to leave his son Buster with $10 million in insurance cash.

Full left to right is Buster, Maggie, Paul, Alex Murdaugh in a undated photo.
Paul Murdaugh (center with white shirt) caught the media’s attention when he was charged in a 2019 drunken boat crash that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach.
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Paul and his mom, Alex Murdaugh’s wife Maggie, were found shot dead in June. The double-murder remains under investigation.

Murdaugh stepped down from his family law firm to enter rehab after being shot in the head, blaming opioid addiction and depression on his deranged plan to stage his own murder.

Bland said he hopes that the investigation into Satterfiled’s death will expose the corruption that allegedly allowed the family to pull the strings of justice in Hampton County for decades.

“This family was beyond reproach, extremely powerful throughout the justice system, and they controlled all the actions of the public officials there,” Bland said.

“A lot of people had to be in play to go along with this for this [settlement misappropriation] to work.”

“There’s a tremendous amount of sunlight on this case which makes a great disinfectant. I don’t think anything is going to be swept under the rug. Certainly somebody is going to ask questions.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if her body is exhumed to look at the injuries and see if they’re consistent with a fall.”

Bland filed his lawsuit in Hampton County but said he will seek a change of venue.

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