Convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh has accused a South Carolina court clerk of rigging the jury in his high-profile double murder trial – because she was driven by fame and a desire to secure a book deal.
The disgraced solicitor and double murderer filed a request for a new trial, alleging that Walterboro Court Clerk Rebecca Hill allegedly pressured the jury in the case.
“During the trial, Ms. Hill asked the jury for their opinion on Mr. Murdaugh's guilt or innocence,” the motion states.
“Ms. Hill made up a story about a Facebook post to remove a juror she believed would not find guilty.”
Murdaugh's attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin will provide details of the motion Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. local time at a news conference in the grounds of the South Carolina State House near the Columbia Court of Appeals.
Murdaugh is currently behind bars at McCormick Correctional Institution in South Carolina, where he is serving two life sentences for the murders of his wife and son.
It emerged last week that Murdaugh had lost some of his prison privileges after leaking information to a Fox Nation documentary without permission.
Officials with the South Carolina Corrections Department said Wednesday that during a phone call at the jail on June 10, Mr. Griffin recorded him reading entries from the journal he kept during his double murder trial.
Mr Griffin then turned the footage over to the producers working on the new Fox Nation documentary about his high profile case, entitled The Fall of the House of Murdaugh.
Prison policy prohibits inmates from speaking to the media without permission because the agency “believes that crime victims should not see or hear the person who victimized them or their family members on the news,” the agency said State Prisons spokeswoman Chrysti Shain in a statement.
The media interview violation, as well as another violation for using another inmate's password to make a phone call, are a matter of prison discipline and not a crime, Ms Shain said.
As a result, the disgraced barrister had his phone privileges revoked and his prison tablet computer confiscated.
Additionally, Murdaugh was unable to shop at the prison canteen for a month.
He now has to get permission from prison officials to get another tablet that he can use to make monitored phone calls, watch approved entertainment, read books or take video classes, the prison spokesman said.
Mr. Griffin has also been warned by prison officials that if he knowingly or unknowingly helps Murdaugh break the rules again, he could lose his ability to speak to his client.
Telephone conversations between lawyers and prisoners are not recorded or checked as their conversations are considered confidential.
But prison officials said they began investigating Murdaugh after a warden screening other phone calls heard Murdaugh's voice on a call made through another inmate's account.
Murdaugh claimed his phone password didn't work. He also informed prison investigators about the recorded diary entries, according to prison records.
Murdaugh's use of a prison tablet previously made headlines when selfie images he took with the device were received as part of a request for information from FITS News.
In many pictures, the convicted family killer was topless.
South Carolina prison officials later clarified that when an inmate uses their individually assigned tablet, the photos are taken automatically as part of inmate monitoring.
Now Murdaugh is indefinitely banned from using his tablet due to his unauthorized communications with the documentarians – in what might be called his first media interview since his conviction.
His eldest – and now only surviving – son, Buster Murdaugh, also broke his silence in his first TV interview as part of the three-part series.
In the interview, Buster insisted he was still convinced his father was innocent of the murders of his mother and brother – but admitted he may be a psychopath.
Maggie and Paul were found shot to death on June 7, 2021 on the family's 1,700-acre Moselle property. Alex Murdaugh had called 911 and claimed to have found their bodies.
During his high-profile murder trial, jurors heard Paul being shot twice with a 12-caliber shotgun while standing in the feeding room of the kennels on the wealthy family's 1,700-acre Moselle estate. The second shot to his head almost completely ejected his brain.
After Murdaugh killed Paul, prosecutors say Murdaugh grabbed a .300 Blackout semi-automatic rifle and opened fire on Maggie as she tried to flee from her husband.
During the dramatic six-week trial, Murdaugh admitted to lying about his alibi the night of the murders, but continued to maintain his innocence in the murders.
The jury disagreed and the disgraced attorney was convicted of the brutal murders in March.
In addition to murder charges, Murdaugh, 55, is also facing a slew of financial fraud charges for stealing millions of dollars from his law firms and the family of his dead housekeeper.
He is expected to plead guilty to the federal charges on Sept. 21 — the first time he has pleaded guilty to a felony in court.
Murdaugh also faces about 100 financial charges in state court, as well as charges over a botched hitman scheme in which he claims he paid an accomplice to shoot him.
Murdaugh's high-profile conviction also highlighted several other mysterious deaths linked to South Carolina's legal dynasty.
Following the murders of Maggie and Paul, investigations into the 2018 death of Murdaugh's longtime housekeeper Gloria Satterfield and the 2015 murder of gay teenager Stephen Smith have been reopened.
Meanwhile, Paul was also awaiting trial in the 2019 Mallory Beach boat accident at the time of his murder.