Here are some key takeaways from a court filing Tuesday by Alex Murdaugh’s lawyers requesting a new trial based on accusations of jury tampering by Colleton County Clerk of Court Becky Hill. The filing alleges Murdaugh was denied his constitutional right to a fair trial.
The court filing includes sworn statements from four of the 12 jurors and six alternates. The filing alleges Hill told jurors before Murdaugh testified not to believe him and to watch his body language.
Hill’s alleged actions called into question the credibility of the defense attorney and the reliability of Murdaugh.
Defense attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin said jurors contacted them after Hill’s self-published book “Behind the Doors of Justice” was released because the jurors felt it was inaccurate. Among the passages Harpootlian mentioned during a press conference Tuesday was Hill referring to “we” when talking about the reaction to the jury’s visit to the Murdaugh hunting estate.
The lawyers allege Hill wanted to avoid a hung jury so she could go ahead with her book deal.
The lawyers said they spent weekends on dirt roads of Colleton County attempting to get all the jurors to tell them what they heard and observed about Hill’s communication with them. Some flatly refused.
Harpootlian said he saw Hill and the jury forewoman talking privately during the trial. The court filing alleges the women went into a single-occupancy bathroom together.
The lawyers have asked for an FBI investigation into Hill’s actions.
The South Carolina attorney general has 10 days to respond to the filing.
A hearing on whether to grant a new trial would be held by Judge Clifton Newman, the trial judge. He would decide whether a new trial is granted.