Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh has filed a motion for a new trial in the murders of his wife and son over claims of jury tampering.
His attorneys submitted court documents in Colleton County, South Carolina on Friday asking that a trial judge hold an evidentiary hearing on the allegations against Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill.
Murdaugh’s legal team has accused Hill of improperly counseling jurors to disregard his testimony and pressured them to reach a quick verdict.
‘When those facts are proven, the court must grant a new trial,’ the motion reads.
Murdaugh, 65, was convicted in March of murdering his wife and one of their sons at the family’s hunting lodge in June 2021, and sentenced to two life sentences without the possibility of parole.
Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh has filed a motion for a new trial in the murders of his wife and son over claims of jury tampering
His attorneys submitted court documents in Colleton County, South Carolina on Friday asking that a trial judge hold an evidentiary hearing on the allegations against Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill (left)
Hill admits in her new book that she worried Alex Murdaugh would be found innocent of murder. She appears in season two of Netflix ‘s documentary ‘Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal’ as seen above
The motion details the claims made about Hill last month and includes a receipt stamp from her in her role as the Colleton County Clerk of Court.
It claims Hill ‘tampered with the jury by advising them 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’.
Murdaugh won a victory from South Carolina’s Supreme Court on October 17 after it granted a motion to pause his conviction appeal while he seeks a re-trial over the jury tampering claims.
The Palmetto State’s top court granted Murdaugh’s motion to hold his appeal in abeyance until the circuit court addresses his allegation the clerk at his murder trial pressured jurors to find him guilty.
‘The recent ruling to stay the appeal and remand the case for a hearing on Alex Murdaugh’s motion for a new trial is welcomed news,’ said Murdaugh’s lawyers, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, in a statement to DailyMail.com.
‘We intend to proceed expeditiously and will seek a full blown evidentiary hearing addressing the serious allegations pertaining to improper jury communications by the Clerk of Court,’ they added.
In court filings, Murdaugh’s defense team has sought to have his conviction tossed, alleging Colleton County Clerk of Court Becky Hill improperly counseled jurors to disregard Murdaugh’s testimony and pressured them to reach a quick verdict.
Griffin and Harpootlian allege that Hill, 55, was motivated by a desire to secure a book deal and media appearances – neither of which would have been possible if the proceedings had ended in a mistrial over a split jury.
The filing alleged that Hill would enter the jury room on a regular basis, asking jurors about their opinions on Murdaugh’s guilt or innocence, and accused her of engineering the removal of one juror who leaned towards a not guilty finding.
DailyMail.com has contacted Hill and Murdaugh’s attorneys for comment.
Maggie and Paul Murdaugh (together center) were gunned down near the kennels at the family’s property of Moselle, in Islandton, South Carolina, on June 7, 2021
Murdaugh, 65, was convicted in March for the murders of his wife and one of their sons.
Following a six-week trial, jurors deliberated for just a few hours before reaching the guilty verdicts.
Hill admitted in her recently published memoir that she worried that he would be found innocent, writing: ‘I knew in my heart he was guilty.’
Soon after the trial, Hill released her book, ‘Behind the Doors of Justice: The Murdaugh Murders,’ and she is a prominent contributor on season two of Netflix’s documentary ‘Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal,’ released last month.
Murdaugh’s attorney’s alleged in a filing: ‘Ms. Hill betrayed her oath of office for money and fame.’
Even if his murder conviction is overturned, Murdaugh will not walk free from prison.
He pleaded guilty last month to financial crimes for stealing millions of dollars from personal injury clients, and a settlement for the family of his longtime maid who died in a mysterious fall at his home.
Murdaugh is awaiting sentencing in that case, and faces decades in prison.
In its order on Tuesday, the five-member South Carolina Supreme Court granted Murdaugh’s motion to pause his conviction appeal, kicking the matter back down to circuit court to allow him to file a motion for a new trial.
The ruling will pause Murdaugh’s conviction appeal until the lower court can address his request for a re-trial.
If he is denied a new trial, Murdaugh could resume his appeal of his original conviction and sentence, which was being pursued on separate grounds from the jury tampering claims.
However, Murdaugh’s attorneys Hartpoolian and Griffin are now hoping to secure a new trial that will render the appeal process moot.
Hill, who is seen swearing in a witness at the trial, writes in her memoir that Murdaugh is a ‘classic narcissist’ with ‘lofty thoughts about himself’
Hill (left) states quite bluntly in her book, ‘I believe he was lying and changing his story on the fly, making it up as he went along, trying to deflect and distract [the prosecutor] Creighton’
Among the most serious claims in their filing last month to vacate the guilty verdict, the attorneys alleged that Hill ‘invented a story about a Facebook post to remove a juror she believed might not vote guilty.’
During the trial Judge Clifton Newman ordered Hill to produce a Facebook post that she had reported, claiming that a juror’s ex-husband was ‘saying stuff’ about how his former wife told him what her ‘verdict was going to be’.
But the new documents now claim that Hill ‘invented’ the post, with the juror claiming it could not be possible as she hadn’t seen her ex-husband in more than ten years.
‘Ms. Hill never saw any such Facebook post. She made it up,’ the newly filed motion claims.
The former spouse also denied the allegations that he wrote the post, as well as a follow-up apology, in a sworn affidavit.
Judge Newman ultimately dismissed the juror in question, but said: ‘Oh boy. I’m not too pleased about the clerk interrogating a juror as opposed to coming to me and bringing it to me.’
Murdaugh’s trial lasted for more than a month, and gripped the nation as prosecutors laid out their evidence that the former prominent attorney murdered his wife Maggie and son Paul.
Maggie, 52, and Paul, 22, were gunned down near kennels at the family’s property of Moselle, in Islandton, South Carolina, on June 7, 2021.
Their bodies were found where they fell. Paul, blasted twice with a 12-gauge shotgun – the fatal shot blowing his brains from his head – was found by the feed room.
His mother, apparently running towards her son as he was slaughtered, was shot multiple times with .300 Blackout semi-automatic rifle.