A counsel for convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh described South Carolina court clerk Rebecca Hill’s actions during his murder trial as “highly improper” and “frankly, illegal,” according to a recent interview.
Less than 24 hours after filing a shocking motion demanding a new trial based on claims of jury tampering, attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Gryphon spoke with Craig Melvin of the “Today” show on Wednesday.
“Any time there’s outside influence in the sanctity of the jury room, it is improper,” Griffin said.
The defence side claims Hill engaged in unlawful private conversations with the jury foreperson and gave the court misleading information to remove a juror she believed to be sympathetic to Murdaugh.
They further claim she wanted to pressure a conviction so she could get a book deal by discussing Murdaugh’s guilt with the jury.
“Behind the Doors of Justice: The Murdaugh Murders,” a memoir about her involvement in the case, was released on August 1 by the elected Colleton County clerk.
Murdaugh, 55, was found guilty in March of killing his son, Paul Murdaugh, and his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, in June 2021. He was given two life sentences in jail.
Hill’s behaviour, according to the lawyers, was so flagrant. Even if the result had been the same without her claimed interference, Murdaugh merits another chance in court.
“The legal question is not whether the outcome of the trial would have been different. The question is whether the information provided to the jury outside the confines of the courtroom is prejudicial,” Griffin told Melvin.
“You can never go back and rewind the clock or put the toothpaste back in the tube. That’s a game we can’t play. But what we do know is the conduct the jurors have reported to us is highly improper and, frankly, illegal,” he added.
The guilty verdict, which was reached by the jury in less than three hours, was read aloud by Hill, 55, in the Colleton County Courthouse on March 2.
The decision’s haste, especially after a six-week trial, astounded many viewers. However, the motion contends that Hill rushed the discussions by forbidding the panel’s six smokers from taking breaks and threatening to check them into a hotel if they didn’t finish that evening.
At a news conference on Tuesday, Gryphon and Harpootlian stated that the submission is supported by fresh information, including interviews with at least three jurors who were so irritated by Hill’s bluster and his latest book that they chose to contact Murdaugh’s legal counsel.
Buster Murdaugh, who granted an exclusive interview to Martha MacCallum for Fox Nation’s docuseries “The Fall of the House of Murdaugh,” has supported Murdaugh in his insistence that he is innocent.
The disgraced lawyer, who comes from a well-known legal family, admits to stealing more than $9 million from his former clients and his company in order to support his opiate addiction.
“A fraudulent lawyer does not equate to a murderer, and he did not murder his wife and son,” Griffin told Melvin.