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Covid-19 Hits The Murdaugh Trial

Two jurors excused, specter of mistrial looms …

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Two jurors tasked with deciding the fate of disbarred South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh have tested positive for coronavirus – prompting circuit court judge Clifton Newman to release them from duty and replace them with alternates.

That leaves only three alternates remaining after one alternate juror was previously excused following a visit to the emergency room last week. More ominously, the positive tests raise the specter of a potential mistrial in the event the virus spreads amongst the remaining members of the jury.

“We have no way of knowing – we just have to take precautions,” Newman said. “We need twelve to deliberate. That’s why we have alternates.”

Newman said the remaining members of the jury were informed of the positive tests – and opted to remain at their posts. They will be subjected to a testing regimen over the coming days, Newman said – although as of this writing no other positive tests have been reported.



Newman declined to impose a mask mandate or enact social distancing within the courtroom. He also declined suggestions from both lead prosecutor Creighton Waters and lead defense attorney Dick Harpootlian to delay the proceedings for several days.

To recap: Murdaugh stands accused of killing his wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, and youngest son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh, on his family’s hunting property in Colleton County, S.C. on June 7, 2021. He pleaded not guilty to those charges and is currently standing trial in Walterboro – a town in the Lowcountry region of the state which his family ran like a fiefdom for more than a century.



Will Folks on phone
Will Folks (Brett Flashnick)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.



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1 comment

Kathleen Bounds Top fan February 13, 2023 at 12:53 pm

Appears that NOTHING can shake Hizzoner Newman!! He is one cool customer. And IMHO, the perfect jurist for this task.


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