AG Wilson requests SLED to investigate jury tampering allegations in Murdaugh case
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina’s attorney general has requested the state law enforcement division to investigate allegations of jury tampering in the Alex Murdaugh double murder trial.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson is requesting the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to investigate the new allegations that the Colleton County clerk of court tampered with the jury during the six-week trial.
“The State’s only vested interest is seeking the truth,” a joint statement stated. “As with all investigations, SLED and the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office are committed to a fair and impartial investigation and will continue to follow the facts wherever they lead.”
Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin addressed a motion they filed Tuesday morning requesting a stay of Murdaugh’s conviction and a new trial and alleging that the Colleton County clerk of court tampered with the jury during the six-week trial.
Murdaugh was convicted and sentenced in March for the June 2021 shooting deaths of his wife, Maggie, and their son, Paul, at the family’s hunting property in rural Colleton County.
The motion alleges Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill “tampered with the jury” by advising jurors “not to believe Murdaugh’s testimony and other evidence presented by the defense, pressuring them to reach a quick guilty verdict, and even misrepresenting critical and material information to the trial judge in her campaign to remove a juror she believed to be favorable to the defense.”
The motion alleges Hill instructed jurors “not to be ‘misled’ by evidence” presented in Murdaugh’s defense and “not to be ‘fooled by’ Mr. Murdaugh’s testimony.” Court documents also allege Hill had “frequent private conversations with the jury foreperson, a court-appointed substitution for the foreperson the jury elected for itself at the request of Ms. Hill.”
The defense also alleges Hill asked jurors for their opinions about Murdaugh’s guilt or innocence, “invented a story” about a Facebook post to remove a juror she believed might vote not guilty, and “pressured jurors to reach a quick verdict, telling them from the outset of their deliberations that it ‘shouldn’t take them long.’”
The defense alleges in the motion that the allegation of private conversations with members of the jury “is supported by sworn affidavits of jurors and a witness to juror interviews, testimony at in camera proceedings and other evidence including Ms. Hill’s own book.”
The motion then demands an evidentiary hearing to determine whether a new trial is warranted.
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