Lawyers for Alex Murdaugh have filed an appeal against his conviction claiming that the court clerk interfered in his trial – and even landed a book deal from the case.
The team submitted a motion on behalf of the disgraced South Carolina attorney on Tuesday, claiming that Rebecca Hill repeatedly ‘tampered with the jury.’
Court documents seen by DailyMail.com state that Hill told jurors ‘not to be fooled by’ Murdaugh, 55, and told them their ‘deliberations shouldn’t take them long’.
It stated: ‘Ms. Hill did these things to secure for herself a book deal and media appearances that would not happen in the event of a mistrial. Ms. Hill betrayed her oath of office for money and fame.’
Murdaugh’s legal team are expected to go through their findings at a press conference later on Tuesday. He is currently serving two life sentences for the murders of Maggie and Paul.
The team submitted a motion on behalf of the disgraced South Carolina attorney on Tuesday, claiming that Rebecca Hill repeatedly ‘tampered with the jury’
Hill, right, is being accused by Murdaugh’s defense team of influencing the jury as they move for a retrial
Court documents seen by DailyMail.com state that Hill told jurors ‘not to be fooled by’ Murdaugh, 55, and told them their ‘deliberations shouldn’t take them long’
Hill, who is on her first term as elected Clerk of Court, published a book, Behind the Doors of Justice: The Murdaugh Murders, on the trial in July.
Lawyers for Murdaugh are pushing for a retrial, and also claim that Hill traveled with jurors to New York when they appeared on NBC’s Today Show.
NBC did not immediately respond when contacted by DaiylMail.com for a request for comment.
Murdaugh’s attorneys are arguing that Hill breached a South Carolina code which states: ‘No public official, public member, or public employee may knowingly use his official office, membership, or employment to obtain an economic interest for himself.’
Hill is understood to have also organized a post-trial drink with members of the media and court staff, following Murdaugh’s double murder conviction.
In a statement Murdaugh’s lawyer Dick Harpootlian said: ‘Today, we filed a petition based on newly discovered evidence with the SC Court of Appeals to stay Alex Murdaugh’s appeal while a hearing is held on a motion for a new trial.
‘Concurrently, we have sent a request to the South Carolina U.S. Attorney to open a federal investigation into the violation of Alex Murdaugh’s civil rights.’
The court documents add: ‘Ms. Hill had frequent private conversations with the jury foreperson, a Court-appointed substitution for the foreperson the jury elected for itself at the request of Ms. Hill.
Lawyers for Murdaugh are pushing for a retrial, and also claim that Hill traveled with jurors to New York when they appeared on NBC’s Today Show
James McDowell, Gwen Generette and Amie Williams waived their right to anonymity to appeared on NBC’s TODAY show to discuss the case that captivated the nation for six weeks
‘We read right through it’: None of the four jurors who publicly spoke after the trial said they believed Murdaugh’s tears. All say he harmed his defense on the stand
Convicted killer Alex is currently serving two life sentences for the murders, despite insisting from the witness stand during his trial that he is not guilty
‘During the trial, Ms. Hill asked jurors for their opinions about Mr. Murdaugh’s guilt or innocence.
‘Ms. Hill invented a story about a Facebook post to remove a juror she believed might not vote guilty.’
Murdaugh is pictured in a mugshot with his head shaved and wearing a yellow jumpsuit
They claim that she would enter the jury room on a regular basis, as well as having private conversations with the jury foreperson ‘lasting five or ten minutes’.
Legal documents say that they would ‘go into the jury room’s single-occupancy bathroom together’, with Hill banning anyone from asking questions about the conversations.
Murdaugh’s attorneys, Dick Harpootlian and James Griffin, argue that Hill told the jury to ‘watch him closely’ as he gave evidence – stating ‘at least one juror understood that to mean Mr Murdaugh was guilty.’
The jury foreperson is also accused of telling other members of the panel that Murdaugh was ‘crying on cue’ and criticized the former foreperson for handing him a box of tissues.
During the trial Judge Clifton Newman ordered Hill to produce a Facebook post that she had seen, claiming that a juror’s ex-husband was ‘saying stuff’ about how his former wife told him what her ‘verdict was going to be’.
Juror Craig Moyer appeared on Good Morning America before Murdaugh’s sentencing to explain why he and his fellow jurors felt Murdaugh was guilty
Legal documents say that they would ‘go into the jury room’s single-occupancy bathroom together’, with Hill banning anyone from asking questions about the conversations
Murdaugh’s defense team previously said they planned to appeal the conviction, but not on what grounds
But the new documents now claim that Hill ‘invented’ the post, with the juror claiming it could not be possible as she hadn’t seen her ex-husband in more than ten years.
‘Ms. Hill never saw any such Facebook post. She made it up,’ the newly filed motion claims.
The former spouse also denied the allegations that he wrote the post, as well as a follow-up apology, in a sworn affidavit.
Judge Newman ultimately dismissed the juror, but said: ‘Oh boy. I’m not too pleased about the clerk interrogating a juror as opposed to coming to me and bringing it to me.’
Smokers on the jury were also reportedly banned from taking a smoke break during deliberations by Hill, despite being allowed to do so during the course of the trial.
The court document added: ‘Ms Hill told jurors that after the trial they would be famous and predicted that the media would request interviews with them.
‘Ms. Hill even handed out reporters’ business cards to jurors during the trial.
‘After the verdict and immediately before sentencing, Ms. Hill pressured the jury to speak as a group to reporters from a network news show.
Buster, Paul, Maggie and Alex Murdaugh at the Moselle estate in a picture uploaded on Maggie’s Facebook to mark Father’s Day 2020
Murdaugh’s eldest son Buster, 26, has also broken his silence on his father’s crimes, telling Fox Nation’s The Fall of the House of Murdaugh , that he felt his father’s ‘ manipulation and lies’ made him a psychopath
‘She traveled with jurors to New York City when they appeared on the Today show.’
Murdaugh’s defense team previously said they planned to appeal the conviction, but not on what grounds.
Throughout the six-week trial, they objected to several of the court’s rulings, including the admission of Murdaugh’s financial crimes into evidence.
It comes after the South Carolina Department of Corrections confirmed that Murdaugh lost his prison phone and canteen privileges.
He is accused of engaging with the media, stemming from an investigation that found he read his journal entries to Griffin in a recorded phone call.
The recording was for a Fox Nation documentary, according to an incident report by the SCDC.
Murdaugh’s eldest son Buster, 26, has also broken his silence on his father’s crimes, telling Fox Nation’s The Fall of the House of Murdaugh, that he felt his father’s ‘manipulation and lies’ made him a psychopath.
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