Yesterday, Eric spoke during Cory Fleming’s hearing alongside the Satterfield family. Eric has a lot to say about the dramatic hearing.
Good afternoon Premium Members. Really excited to talk to you today, happy Friday. EB here. Man has it been another power packed week. First grateful that David and Mandy made it home safely from Europe. You know, they had a much needed vacation, went over there to Italy for a wedding and they deserved it. They needed it. And unfortunately, when they were over there all hell broke loose, because last week the juror situation became known when Harpootlian did his press conference and they filed their motion asking for a new trial and Mandy and David with the time difference and sometimes bad internet connections didn’t feel like they were keeping up to up to you know, the real minute with it; real time. And so Liz and I and Sam and Ali were, you know, peppering them with different developments. But now they’re back in the swing of things. True Sunlight episode was finished today. We’re going to do a COJ number 47 tomorrow. And this week, I kind of got roped into the juror situation because we are now representing four jurors. These are four jurors who rendered decisions in the murder trial. I can’t reveal attorney client privilege, but I’m honored to represent them and I’m confident that when the time comes for them to either speak directly with the judge or be under oath, that they’re going to disagree in very serious manner with the allegations that Dick Harpootlian raised at the press conference last week, and in the court filings and in connection with the two affidavits that were submitted in support of their motion for a new trial. It would not surprise me that at the end, there’s probably going to be nine or 10 jurors who are going to say that what they attribute to Becky Hill, having said to the jury was not said or if Becky Hill said some things that they weren’t intended to direct or persuade anybody from voting their conscience.
You saw yesterday that Judge Newman is not somebody that can be easily intimidated. The back and forth between him and Harpootlian yesterday in Beaufort at the status conferences and the sentencing of Cory Fleming was primetime TV. I’ve never seen a lawyer talk to a judge like that and that judge gave it every bit back to Dick Harpootlian. I think Dick is mistaken that he thinks he can walk into court now and just tell a judge, look, this is when I want to try the case for the financial crimes, and that’s in the fall of 2024. And Judge Newman would hear none of that. He set the trial for Alex Murdaugh on November 27, this year, the day after Thanksgiving, and Harpootlian said, look, I’m going to be over in Slovenia, my wife’s an ambassador over there. And basically, the judge said, Well, you’re gonna have to get prepared while you’re over there and fly back on Thanksgiving day if you want to make this trial.
So yesterday was a real interesting day because the holy trinity of Alex Murdaugh, Russell Laffitte and Cory Fleming were all together at the courtroom. Now they weren’t together at once. Russell Laffitte came in his suit because he’s still out on bond and that bond is set to expire on September 21, when he’s going to have to report and he’s going to have to report to Coleman prison, which is five and a half hours away in Florida. Now you say wow, I thought he was going to go to Jessup because that’s what Judge Gergel recommended. Well, the Bureau of Prisons didn’t really listen to Judge Gergel and they sent him instead of two hours away, five and a half hours away.
In the back, Corey Fleming was in his jumpsuit, his gray and black Oh Brother Where Art Thou jumpsuit and chains in a leather belt and hands and feet bound. Alex Murdaugh came in in his Clockwork Orange, one piece jumpsuit. And he came in also with his hands bound and his feet bound and it was a like a field trip for him a school day field trip he was smiling. And I would be interested to know whether Cory Fleming and Alex Murdaugh even laid eyes on each other back in the holding cells. But when Alex Murdaugh walked in, I’m telling you, it was surreal to see this red headed broom, you know, walk into this courtroom and he was happy as a lark. You know, a real clean jumpsuit, wasn’t dirty. And, you know, he shook Todd Rutherford’s hand, he talked to some people, got patted on the back by Dick Harpootlian. And so Dick started making an argument and from the get go, he started taking on Judge Newman saying that he was biased by some of the opinions he made at the sentencing telling Judge Newman, you won’t be hearing these cases, because you are retiring on December 31. And Judge Newman interjected and said, one you don’t know what I’m thinking in my head until you don’t know if I’m going to continue to preside over cases when I take senior status. And when I turned 72 years old, Harpootlian made a couple of serious missteps. First, he started slamming on podcasters when his own partner at the table, Jim Griffin about a month and a half ago, started his own podcast with Sarah Azari. So he was slamming Jim Griffin, it was meant to slam you know, Mandy, Liz and me and some other people. And then he had a tremendous misstatement where you say that, you know, we had to prepare for the criminal murder trial, you know, we only had six months to do it last year, and we weren’t able to prepare any of these other financial crime cases. And Creighton Waters shot up like a rocket and I made this comment yesterday. You know, does anybody feel the same way that I do when Creighton speaks he’s like six feet three now. I mean, he’s really found his voice and his competence. And what he said was judged, it’s kind of funny, Mr. Harpootlian and he was the one that made a motion for speedy trial after Alex Murdaugh was charged with the murders of Maggie and Paul by the grand jury. He’s the one that wanted a trial immediately. And we agree and Harpootlian goes, well, you didn’t have to agree. I mean, and Judge Newman looked at Harpootlian and said, what are you blathering about? You’re the one that wanted a fast trial. You see, Dick wanted a fast trial, because he thinks he thought that he was going to catch the Attorney General flat footed. Well, they were prepared, as we saw, they did an amazing job in preparing their witnesses and putting on their case and, and they got the shit kicked out of him. I mean, that’s the end of the story. This jury didn’t just find him guilty, they found them incredibly guilty. Three, three hours of deliberations. And so Harpootlian thought that he was going to be able to walk into this courtroom and get the financial crimes trials pushed off until sometime in 2024 2025, even including the labor day shooting, and Judge Newman would have none of it. And so he scheduled the Satterfield trial for the day after Thanksgiving. And Harpootlian was pretty pissed because this kind of interferes with his chessboard strategy, where he’s going to plead Alex Murdaugh guilty in federal court on September 21, in front of Judge Gergel, and then hopefully he’ll get sentenced in federal court for a lot of time. And then in the interim, he’ll reverse the conviction on the murder trial to get a new trial and then Alex won’t have any convictions against them, except for the federal court conviction where he pleaded to and now he’ll go serve his time in a federal prison. But that was all thwarted yesterday. Because if he goes forward and tries the case in November, he’s going to be convicted. I mean, Alex admitted on the stand in the murder cases that he stole the Satterfield money.
What you saw yesterday was a desperate lawyer in Dick Harpootlian. Desperate to try to find a winning move. So that was yesterday, and then we moved into the sentencing of Cory Fleming and maybe a lot of you saw it. It was not an enjoyable period of time for me, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Dick squirm. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Russell Laffitte squirm. But I did not particularly enjoy breaking a man like we had to break Cory Fleming.
I had the distinct honor of arguing on behalf of the Satterfields, in the sentence of Cory Fleming and what was different in this argument was, the state went first to argue their opinion and position that it should be a seriously long jail prison sentence. As you recal in Judge Gergel’s courtroom, the defense went first and, and they did a really good job. And it felt like when we got up, you know, we were starting about 20 yards behind the start line. And as you remember Judge Gergel cut me off, probably halfway through my argument and said, he’s hurt enough for me and felt that I guess I was going at hard, too hard with Cory Fleming. So Creighton Waters stood up first, Cory came in, And he was sad. He lowered his head, you know, as folks were there. And then Creighton Waters started to argue and he did a masterful job. I mean, it was clinical, how he went through his guilt. And then I had the honor to stand up with Ginger Hadwin and Tony Satterfield. And they made, you know, their statements, saying that they forgive Cory and that their sister and mother lives on and that this wasn’t in vain. She, she was the catalyst for opening up all the financial crimes. And then I got up. And you know, it was kind of nice because a lot of the listeners or people that follow me on Twitter, really haven’t gotten to see me lawyer. They’ve heard me talk on TV. They’ve heard me do podcasts and interviews and things like that. So yesterday, I got up and I argued from the heart, I talked about what the profession means to me. And what Alex and Cory have done to our profession. And when it came time to sentence quarry, he was given to 10 year sentences to serve consecutively. So right now, Cory Fleming has to serve four years, close to four years, 46 months and less good time for RDAP, which is the drug therapy. As well as good time, he’ll probably end up serving about 36 months. And then he’s going to go over and have to serve his time in a state court prison. And Judge Newman was punishing the crime as much as he was punishing the man. He wanted to set an example for the bar exactly like I said, that you can’t steal money from your clients, that our duties are to our clients, that we have a sacred trust when our clients were posed trusting us to represent them. And we have to put their interests over our own and I said that there needs to be a clarion bell that at the water cooler today every lawyer should turn to the person next to him and say, Hey, did you hear what happened to that lawyer? in Beaufort, South Carolina yesterday, he got sentenced to 20 years.
So what is coming up is obviously the plea on September 21. It’ll be interesting to see if he does plead guilty now in front of Judge Gergel, Alex Murdaugh. We’ll wait and see if Russell Laffitte gets an appellate bond or he’s going to have to report to Coleman.
So it’s been a power packed week. Sam is going to be writing a couple articles, our Sam, about the Massachusetts murder trial where a girlfriend of a police officer is accused of killing. So I’m looking forward to seeing Sam’s writing. She’s a wonderful person, does a great job setting us all up for the technology.
And there’s going to be a happy hour on September 21 on the same day that Alex Murdaugh is to be pleading guilty with Mandy and Carolyn, where she’s going to be discussing her book and I can’t wait to hear the comments Blood on Their Hands and the writing process. And I also want to say, from the bottom of my heart, I am so appreciative of all of you. This is the one year anniversary tomorrow on our first Cup of Justice podcast and now we’re on 47. And I only have you guys to thank because it’s not easy being a podcaster. It’s not as easy as just getting up in front of a microphone and talking, you don’t have a podcast unless you have an audience and a substantial audience like we have an audience that is engaged and an audience that is smart. And so I want to thank you, and I promise I will keep working. I will be better at this craft as we go on. And I’m very grateful for our relationship. Thank you so much.
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