Murdaugh accomplice Fleming’s prison sentence is not 20 years – probably closer to 13

The total time that Alex Murdaugh’s accomplice Cory Fleming will serve in state and federal prison for numerous financial crimes is around 13 or 14 years — not 20, the South Carolina Attorney General’s office indicated this week.

After Fleming was sentenced late last week, his sentence was widely reported as being 20 years, apparently because many in the media, including The State Media Co., and court officials believed S.C. Judge Clifton Newman said in a lengthy and sometimes unclear discourse from the bench that Fleming had received two consecutive 10-year sentences.

But on Monday, Drew Tripp, a producer for WCIV television station in Charleston, tweeted that he had “spent an afternoon” reviewing what Newman said in court, as well as studying the federal sentence of 46 months for financial crimes that U.S. Judge Richard Gergel gave Fleming on Aug. 15 for approximately the same crimes.

Tripp’s conclusion: Fleming will actually serve 13 years and 10 months.

On Tuesday, the S.C. Attorney General’s office did its own calculations and — although it didn’t give an exact sentence — indicated that a total time in prison would be in the 13- to 14-year range.

“We were mistaken about the sentence on Thursday (Sept. 15) because we went by what was said in court (by Judge Newman), but we didn’t have the sentencing sheets. We got those on Friday. Once we got those, we saw that one of the state 10-year sentences would be consecutive to the federal sentence and the other would run concurrently,” said Attorney General spokesman Robert Kittle in an email.

After Fleming leaves federal prison, he’ll go to state prison.

In both state and federal prison systems, inmates are able to reduce their time served in various ways, including for good behavior.

“It’s impossible to know an exact time at this point because there are too many variables and unknowns,” Kittle wrote.

Debbie Barbier, Fleming’s lead lawyer, declined comment Wednesday on the sentences and said, “We are considering all our options.”

Judge Newman’s office did not respond to an email requesting comment on the state sentences. On Sept. 15, Newman handed down varying sentences for more than 20 offenses in Hampton and Beaufort counties. The offenses included money laundering, conspiracy, insurance fraud, computer crimes and breach of trust.

A spokeswoman for the S.C. Department of Corrections said the department needs more information before it can calculate Fleming’s projected release date from state prison.