COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSAV) — Alex Murdaugh’s defense team is throwing some serious allegations at the Colleton County Clerk of Court.
“There is no choice but for the courts to grant a new trial,” said Jim Griffin, Alex Murdaugh’s defense attorney.
On Tuesday, Murdaugh’s attorneys filed a 65-page motion for a new trial.
Murdaugh’s defense attorneys say he didn’t get a fair trial, because they allege the guilty conviction was tainted by the clerk of court. After months of speaking to jurors, Murdaugh’s attorneys now say they have evidence Hill influenced jurors.
“The clerk of court is the person that makes sure the jury gets their food if they’re put up for the night, someplace to stay if their travel accommodations are met,” said Dick Harpootlian, Alex Murdaugh’s defense attorney. “They’re not someone that should ever talk to them about the case, I’ve never had it happen. Again, I’ve been doing it for a very long time never heard of it happening, until this case.”
One of the most serious allegations claims Hill got a juror removed who was leaning towards a not guilty verdict. They claim Hill made up a story about that juror’s ex-husband’s Facebook post. In that post, it discussed he and his ex-wife’s talks about the case.
Hill brought it to the judge’s attention after Murdaugh testified. However, the defense said the timeline doesn’t match up. They say the post was deleted on Feb. 15 and the only post remaining was an apology posted the next day.
Defense attorneys say the ex-husband told them he never posted anything.
“Mrs. Hill is telling Judge Newman on February 23rd that I just saw this Facebook post. Impossible, impossible,” Griffin said. “We also have in their sworn testimony that Mrs. Hill told this juror that ‘SLED went out and confirmed with your ex-husband that he posted that.’ Not true, according to the sworn testimony.”
The attorneys also said Hill told jurors not be believe the evidence from the defense and to not be fooled by Murdaugh when he took the stand.
“The clerk of court would go into the sanctity of the jury room before he testified and tell the jurors, ‘don’t be fooled by his testimony. Watch out for his body language,'” Griffin said.
They say Hill told jurors, “It shouldn’t take us long” to find Murdaugh guilty once deliberations started. They also say, Hill didn’t allow anyone to take smoke breaks until they reached a verdict but throughout the trial she allowed it.
The wall of silence from jurors was lifted after Hill’s book was released in July, according to the attorneys.
“The first juror we talked to, we got information about Mrs. Hill saying ‘don’t be fooled.’ And then the second juror, independent of the first juror, says the same thing and the third year independent of the other say the same thing,” Griffin said. “And so we’re very confident that the information is accurate.”
WSAV reached out to Hill on Tuesday but at this time she has no comment. From Tuesday, the attorney general has ten days to respond to the motion. However, even if he throws the guilty verdict out, Murdaugh still faces more than 100 state and federal charges for financial crimes.