South Carolina judge is dragged into Alex Murdaugh scandal over claims she let him hide his assets from family of housekeeper who died at his house
MAR 2, 2022 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: MAR 2, 2022
A complaint has been filed against South Carolina Judge Carmen Mullen for her alleged involvement in the Alex Murdaugh case
It alleges the judge used her position to help Disgraced South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh, 53, hide his financial situation
1st Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe filed the complaint with the Office of Disciplinary Council and the Commission
Mullen signed off on a settlement involving the heirs of deceased Murdaugh housekeeper Gloria Satterfield, knowing it would be kept from public view
Murdaugh is being investigated by the FBI and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) for numerous alleged financial crimes
A South Carolina judge has been accused of allowing disgraced lawyer Alex Murdaugh to hide the $4.3million payout from a wrongful death lawsuit for his housekeeper- which was supposed to go to her grieving family.
Judge Carmen Mullen of Beaufort County had signed off on a death settlement for his housekeeper Gloria Satterfield who died after a fall at Murdaugh’s home, according to a complaint filed this week.
Insurance agreed to pay out $4.3 million to the family of Satterfield, who helped raise Murdaugh’s two sons.
But the family never received the full payout – or were even told of the settlement.
Solicitor David Pascoe has now filed an official complaint saying that Mullen signed off on the settlement, knowing that it would be kept from public view.
He has based the complaint off testimony given last month by Chad Westendorf, the vice-president at Hampton County-based Palmetto State Bank and alleged co-conspirator in the scheme to steal $4.3 million from the family of the Murdaugh’s housekeeper.
Westendorf testified that Mullen signed the order ‘knowing it would not be filed’ in the public record, according to the complaint.
‘There is now sworn testimony establishing that Judge Mullen signed the Satterfield order on May 13, 2019, knowing it would not be filed to prevent the litigants in the Mallory Beach matter from learning about Mr. Murdaugh’s insurance coverage and his settlement with the Satterfield estate,’ Pascoe’s complaint states.
By keeping the settlement private, Murdaugh was able to keep the insurance payout from his housekeeper’s family, and keep it from the family of 19-year-old Mallory Beach who was killed when his son, who has since been murdered, crashed his boat near Parris Island on February 24, 2019.
Alex Murdaugh, 53, is being investigated by the FBI and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) for numerous alleged financial crimes
Judge Carmen Mullen of Beaufort County signed off on a court settlement worth millions involving the children of Murdaugh’s deceased housekeeper Gloria Satterfield, knowing it would be kept from public view, a state solicitor stated in the complaint
An official complaint has been filed against a South Carolina judge after recent testimony revealed she used her position to help disgraced lawyer Alex Murdaugh
Westendorf sat for the deposition that raised questions about Mullen’s conduct on February 22 by the Satterfield family’s attorneys Eric Bland, Ronnie Richter and Scott Mongillo.
Pascoe’s complaint and the sworn transcript, obtained by McClatchy newspapers, are the first public allegations about Mullen and that she did not plan to immediately file the order approving a $3.8 million settlement for the Satterfield family in court ‘because of the publicity over the boating accident.’
Westendorf stated that Mullen knew the settlement order for the Satterfield family was not going to be filed in court because of the ‘public scrutiny’ attached to the ‘Mallory Beach case,’ according to the complaint.
Mullen had recused herself from the fatal boat crash lawsuit in 2019 about a month before she signed off on the Satterfield settlement, Pascoe stated in his letter of complaint.
‘Judge Mullen’s pattern of alleged conduct threatens to erode public trust in our judiciary,’
Pascoe said in his complaint.
‘Impropriety and dishonesty by members of our State’s judiciary cause real harm to all South Carolinians.
‘When wealthy and politically connected individuals are treated as a privileged class by members of the judiciary, it erodes public trust in government and the fair administration of law.’
According to The State newspaper, lawyers asked Westendorf whether Mullen was also aware that Alex Murdaugh’s name was removed from the caption of the settlement order.
‘Ever hear that discussion that the reason Alec’s name was being taken off that caption was he didn’t want Mark Tinsley, who was suing him … for the Mallory Beach boating accident, he didn’t want anybody to find out in public record that this kind of money was being paid from his homeowners insurance carrier?’ Bland asked.
Murdaugh is being investigated by the FBI and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) for numerous alleged financial crimes.
Murdaugh’s career began to unravel after his 52-year-old wife, Maggie, and 22-year-old son, Paul, were killed in a shooting at the family’s home last year.
He also faces accusations of attempting to arrange his own death after he allegedly ordered his former client Curtis Smith to shoot him in the head so his son could collect a $10 million life insurance policy.
Murdaugh is currently behind bars at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in Richland County, South Carolina, on a $7 million bond. He faces 74 criminal charges.
This week, Murdaugh’s attorneys filed a lawsuit in federal court asking a judge to block the release of his jailhouse phone calls to media outlets after excerpts of Murdaugh’s phone conversations were published February 24 on the FITSNews site.
He faces 74 criminal charges after being hit with four new indictments in January accusing him of stealing another $2.6 million, bringing the total amount he’s accused of swindling to nearly $8.8 million.
The disgraced lawyer diverted millions of dollars to a fake bank account from a wrongful-death settlement meant for the sons of the back-then family housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield
Earlier this month, the family of the teen killed in the boat incident claimed in an amended lawsuit that Murdaugh and his deceased wife Maggie ‘knew about their son Paul’s underage drinking before a fatal boat crash and did nothing about it.’
Maggie and Alex Murdaugh with their son Paul (center) and surviving son Buster (left)
The lawsuit filed by the parents of Mallory Beach, who was killed aboard a boat helmed by Paul Murdaugh in 2019, depicts his parents as willful contributors to their son’s underage drinking.
‘Paul Murdaugh’s consumption of alcohol was condoned, encouraged and facilitated by Richard Alexander Murdaugh and Margaret Kennedy Branstetter Murdaugh,’ the lawsuit said.
Paul, 22, and his mother, 52, were found gunned down on their hunting estate in Islandton last June in a murder that remains unsolved.
The lawsuit by Beach’s family was filed one day before the three-year anniversary of the wreck, which added the estates of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh as defendants.
The suit claims that a drunk Paul Murdaugh, who was only 19 years old at the time of the fatal crash, had spoken with his mother on the phone around two hours prior to the crash, and that she ‘failed to stop’ him from driving the boat despite being him being clearly intoxicated.
The amended complaint, filed by Allendale attorney Mark Tinsley, accuses the mother and son of negligence. The boat smashed into Archer’s Creek Bridge in Beaufort County in February 2019, killing Beach and injuring five others aboard.
Beach, 19, died when she was thrown from the vessel. Her body was found on in the water by a fisherman a week later.
Paul Murdaugh was charged with three felony counts, including causing Beach’s death. He was awaiting trial when he and his mother were killed.
Paul was ‘highly intoxicated,’ ‘drunk’, and ‘belligerent,’ after spending an evening drinking before he and his friends got on the boat, according to legal documents seen by DailyMail.com.
Pictured: Paul Murdaugh’s mugshot, taken after a drunken 2019 boat crash that left Mallory Beach dead
Mallory Beach (pictured) 19, was killed in a a boat crash in 2019.
Felony charges where filed against Paul Murdaugh.
Murdaugh and his mother Maggie Murdaugh where recently found fatally shot in June 2021 in an apparent double homicide
Pictured: Paul Murdaugh’s mugshot, taken after a drunken 2019 boat crash that left Mallory Beach, right, dead