Alex Murdaugh’s legal team calls for new trial over alleged jury tampering
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Alex Murdaugh’s legal team filed a motion for a new trial based on alleged jury tampering.
Attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin alleged Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill told jurors not to believe the evidence presented by the defense, pressured them to reach a guilty verdict, and lied to the judge.
In March, the jury in Murdaugh’s murder trial found him guilty of killing his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, and their son, Paul. He was sentenced to two life sentences in prison for the killings by Judge Clifton Newman.
Murdaugh’s trial was followed internationally and dragged on for six weeks.
The 65-page filing included affidavits, transcript records, and portions of Hill’s book.
One juror’s affidavit states she told the jury before Murdaugh testified “not to be fooled” by the evidence presented by Murdaugh’s attorneys.
A second affidavit claims Hill told the jurors not to let the defense “mislead” the jury.
In a news conference on Tuesday, Griffin argued Hill’s book opened up the allegations.
“That zone of silence collapsed, and jurors were upset about that, the ones we talked with, and they were more than willing to come forward,” he said.
The attorneys also allege Hill fabricated a story about a Facebook post to get a juror removed.
They claim they have not had any jurors contradict what’s being alleged.
A letter to District Attorney Adair Ford Boroughs from Harpootlian said, “I write to request an urgent federal investigation of conduct by a South Carolina elected official during that trial. I have attached Mr. Murdaugh’s recent filing in the South Carolina Court of Appeals regarding this matter, which describes jury tampering by the Clerk of Court for Colleton County, Rebecca Hill.”
The letter went on to say Hill acted “under color” of state law and she was “charged with ‘jury management’” as clerk of court.
“In our recent court filing, we assert that Ms. Hill’s actions deprived Mr. Murdaugh of his rights under the Constitution,” the letter claimed.
The attorneys called for an FBI investigation, saying the S.C. Law Enforcement Division (SLED) has a “vested interest” in upholding the conviction. SLED investigated the Murdaugh murders.
Hill did not return a request for comment.
Meanwhile, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson released a statement in response to the latest motion that said:
“We are currently reviewing the defense’s latest motion and will respond through the legal process at the appropriate time.”
You can read the new motion and letter to Boroughs below:
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