Alex Murdaugh’s attorneys claim Clerk of Court tampered with jury

Posted at 9:17 AM, September 5, 2023


HAMPTON COUNTY, S.C. (Court TV) – Attorneys for convicted double murderer Alex Murdaugh are seeking a new trial, claiming the Clerk of Court tampered with the jury, according to court documents obtained by Court TV.

At a press conference Tuesday, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin said they were informed the Attorney General has ten days to respond to their filing.

alex murdaugh appears in court

Alex Murdaugh listens to the defense’s closing argument during his double murder trial. (Court TV)

In the motion, Murdaugh’s attorneys claim Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill “instructed jurors not to be ‘misled’ by evidence presented in Mr. Murdaugh’s defense,” and “she told jurors not to be ‘fooled by’ Mr. Murdaugh’s testimony in his own defense.”

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The motion also accuses Hill of having “frequent private conversations with the jury foreperson” and fabricating a story “to remove a juror she believed might not vote guilty.”

It continues, “Ms. Hill did these things to secure for herself a book deal and media appearances that would not happen in the event of a mistrial.”

The motion also includes depositions from some jurors that detail Hill’s alleged behavior. At the press conference, Griffin said no other jurors have disputed the claims. Harpootlian said not all the jurors were present for the alleged statements.

Recently, Hill released a memoir about her relationship with the Murdaugh family and serving during the trial. In Aug., Hill spoke to Court TV about her book, titled Behind the Doors of Justice: The Murdaugh Murders.

WATCH: Murdaugh Trial Clerk of Court Gives Firsthand Insight to Family, Trial

Murdaugh, 55, was sentenced to two life sentences for the murders of his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, and his youngest son Paul Murdaugh. Prosecutors claimed he killed them to gain sympathy ahead of impending exposure to his financial crimes and debts.

Throughout the trial, five jurors were removed from the panel. Four due to illnesses and one for misconduct after she reportedly spoke to outside parties about the case. The motion claims the fifth juror, Juror No. 785, was removed because of a fake Facebook post reported by Hill to Judge Clifton Newman. Hill allegedly told Judge Newman the post was made by the juror’s ex-husband. The ex-husband stated in the new filings that he never made the post.

In a statement to Court TV, Harpootlian and Griffin said,

“Today, we filed a petition based on newly discovered evidence with the SC Court of Appeals to stay Alex Murdaugh’s appeal while a hearing is held on a motion for a new trial.

Concurrently, we have sent a request to the South Carolina U.S. Attorney to open a federal investigation into the violation of Alex Murdaugh’s civil rights.

The serious allegations in the petition filed today speak for themselves but we believe they explain a number of peculiarities in the six-week trial. We request that SLED stand down on initiating any investigation of these allegations since they are heavily invested in maintaining Alex’s conviction. We suggest that they wait for the Court of Appeals to rule and receive direction from the trial court, if the Court of Appeals remands the case for an evidentiary hearing. We also would request that those in the media and the public respect the privacy of those included in this filing.

Jim and I want to thank those on our team who stand with us today who have worked tirelessly to ferret out the truth.

Alex Murdaugh maintained and still maintains his innocence of the murder of Maggie and Paul and he believes the truth will ultimately prevail.”

Court TV legal correspondent Chanley Painter reached out to Hill, who said, “I’m working on a statement now. This is so untrue.”

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon, “We are currently reviewing the defense’s latest motion and will respond through the legal process at the appropriate time.”

Michael Gunn, principle at Forge Consulting, gives the witness oath by Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill, right, during Alex Murdaugh's double murder trial

FILE – Michael Gunn, principle at Forge Consulting, gives the witness oath by Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill, right, during Alex Murdaugh’s double murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse, Feb. 8, 2023, in Walterboro, S.C.  (Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post And Courier via AP, Pool, File)

Outside of his double murder case, Murdaugh is facing numerous charges related to fraud and theft. Last month, he agreed to plead guilty to federal theft charges. He’s also facing multiple charges in state court, including accusations that he stole insurance settlements meant for the family his late housekeeper Gloria Satterfield.

Murdaugh’s surviving son, Buster Murdaugh, recently told Fox Nation he doesn’t believe his father killed his mother and brother. He did concede that his father possesses some traits of a psychopath.