Alex Murdaugh has been awarded his first victory in his fight for a new trial.
The South Carolina Court of Appeals has granted Murdaugh's motion to suspend his appeal of his murder convictions. His case has been remanded back to the circuit court for a hearing regarding allegations of jury tampering involving the clerk of court.
Murdaugh's defense attorneys, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, released the following statement:
"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. 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."
Murdaugh, 55, is currently serving life without the possibility of parole for the June 7, 2021 murders of his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, and youngest son, Paul Murdaugh.
Harpootlian and Griffin announced they were seeking a new trial last month, when they filed a motion claiming Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill "instructed jurors to not be 'misled' by evidence presented in Mr. Murdaugh's defense." They also claimed Hill "told jurors not to be 'fooled by' Mr. Murdaugh's testimony in his own defense."
Murdaugh's defense team's motion, filed in September, also accused Hill of having "frequent private conversations with the jury foreperson" and fabricating a story "to remove a juror she believed might not vote guilty." The motion includes depositions from members of the jury detailing Hill's alleged behavior.
According to Harpootlian and Griffin, Hill was trying to secure herself "a book deal and media appearances that would not happen in the event of a mistrial."
Hill released a memoir earlier this year detailing her relationship with the Murdaugh family and her service during the trial, entitled "Behind the Doors of Justice: The Murdaugh Murders."
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