South Carolina Circuit Judge Clifton Newman will not preside over any of the proceedings related to Alex Murdaugh’s bid for a new trial, a new court filing revealed on Thursday.
The convicted killer’s defense team has repeatedly asked that Newman, who presided over the double murder trial, be removed from all of Murdaugh’s future cases.
Newman sentenced Murdaugh to two life terms in prison in March for fatally shooting his wife, Maggie, and his older son, Paul, after jurors returned a guilty verdict.
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Defense lawyers Jim Griffin and Dick Harpootlian filed a motion for a new trial based on allegations that Colleton County court clerk Becky Hill had tampered with jurors by trying to sway them toward a conviction. She has denied the allegations.
Earlier this month, the defense team asked the South Carolina Supreme Court to kick Newman off the case, arguing that it would be a conflict of interest when he is a witness in matters that will feature prominently in a hearing for a new trial.
In addition, they argued that the jurist had flouted the Code of Judicial Conduct by discussing his opinions of Murdaugh publicly and said that he shouldn’t handle any of the disbarred lawyer’s pending cases.
Murdaugh is currently facing more than 100 charges for financial and narcotics crimes in several South Carolina counties.
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In an order from the state’s highest court, the panel of five judges wrote that Newman had already recused himself and “requested that a new judge be assigned to handle the post-trial motions involving the murder trial.”
In a loss for the defense, the order denied Murdaugh’s request to remove Newman from his other pending cases, including one trial scheduled for November 27 in Beaufort County.
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Murdaugh is facing 13 charges stemming from allegations that he pocketed more than $4 million in insurance payouts that were supposed to go to the heirs of his late housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who died after tripping and falling at his property.