Murdaughs

‘Murdaugh Murders’ Appeal Update: Defense Dropping Big Hints

“Unprecedented outside influences” on jury alleged …

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After numerous delays to allow court reporters time to prepare a voluminous transcript from his six-week trial, convicted killer Alex Murdaugh’s attorneys appear to be making headway related to his appeal.

Murdaugh, 55, a disbarred attorney and accused/ admitted fraudster from Hampton, South Carolina, was found guilty by a Colleton County jury of the graphic 2021 murders of his wife – 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh – and younger son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh, at the conclusion of a six-week trial in Walterboro, S.C.

The trial gained international attention given the gruesomeness of the crime – as well as Murdaugh’s status as a member of the once-powerful “House of Murdaugh,” a family which ran the Palmetto Lowcountry like a fiefdom for nearly a century. Three Murdaughs held the post of S.C. fourteenth circuit solicitor between 1920-2006 – and Murdaugh himself was a badge-carrying assistant solicitor at the time of the murders.

The jury deliberated for only a few hours before returning its verdict. On March 3, 2023, S.C. circuit court judge Clifton Newman handed down a pair of life sentences in the case.

Murdaugh’s attorneys filed a notice of appeal on March 9, 2023, however they have yet to formally submit a document articulating the grounds upon which they believe their client’s conviction should be overturned.

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Trial transcripts were ordered on March 21, 2023. Extensions were subsequently requested on May 17 and June 16. The latest round of extensions was filed with the South Carolina Court of Appeals on August 18, 2023 requesting yet another extension to September 17, 2023.

As we await the transcripts, though, it is becoming apparent that Murdaugh’s lawyers have something significant up their sleeve.

In an appearance with News Nation‘s Chris Cuomo on August 31, 2023, Murdaugh attorney Jim Griffin indicated Murdaugh’s legal team had been busy interviewing the jurors who served during the lengthy trial.

“We’re still waiting on the final transcripts so we can prepare the briefs,” Griffin told Cuomo. “Frankly, we have been working very diligently interviewing jurors and the information that we have unearthed so far has, in my experience as a lawyer, been unprecedented.”

“I don’t want to say any more about that,” Griffin added.

Pressed by Cuomo for more details, Griffin responded, “I promise you, you’ll be hearing a lot more about it in the very near future. There (are) serious questions as to whether this jury was subjected to outside influences during the case.”

(Click to View)

News Nation/ YouTube

According to our sources at the S.C. State House, Murdaugh’s attorneys have requested space in front of the S.C. court of appeals this coming Tuesday (September 5, 2023) at 2:30 p.m. EDT for the purpose of holding a press conference related to the case.

Murdaugh’s trial had plenty of strange moments. During the trial, four jurors were replaced with alternates due to Covid-19 or illness, but the dismissal of a fifth juror by Newman midway through closing arguments had everyone buzzing.

Newman removed the juror in question for allegedly having improper conversations with three individuals regarding “evidence and testimony at that point in the trial.” The juror compounded the problem by allegedly lying to Newman about these communications – violating his order that jurors not discuss the case with anyone (or each other).

Following the trial’s conclusion, Columbia, S.C. attorney Joe McCulloch – a fixture at the Murdaugh trial – issued a statement on behalf of the juror asking the public and members of the media to stop trying to contact her.

“I am reaching out to the press and public today on behalf of juror No. 785 who was excused from the jury in the State v. Murdaugh case just prior to deliberations,” McCulloch said in the statement. “I am requesting that everyone respect her privacy at both her home and her place of work. While other jurors have chosen to comment, which is their prerogative, that is not her desire at this time.”

(Click to View)

The dog kennels on the Murdaugh family compound in Colleton County, site of the double homicide of 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh and 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh. (Will Folks/ FITSNews)

As this news outlet reported at the time, had this juror remained on the panel she would have likely wound up keeping the state from securing convictions against Murdaugh.

“She was dug in,” a source familiar with the deliberations confirmed. “She said he was ‘not guilty’ and there was nothing anyone could do to change her mind.”

“She would have hung the jury,” another source confirmed.

Griffin represented Murdaugh in the murder trial along with state senator Dick Harpootlian, attorney Phillip Barber and attorney Margaret Fox.

Most believed Murdaugh’s appeal would focus on the controversial admissibility of evidence related to his alleged financial crimes. However, as FITSNews previously reported, sources familiar with the situation say defense attorneys may have an “ace up their sleeve” on another subject.

Is that ace related to alleged jury tampering?

Whatever cards wind up getting played, finding a majority of appeals court judges – or supreme court justices – to overturn Murdaugh’s conviction remains a steep climb, according to Palmetto State lawyers we spoke with.

As he awaits the formal filing of the appeal of his murder convictions, Murdaugh has yet to go to trial on more than 100 counts of alleged financial criminality. In addition to the various state charges he is facing, Murdaugh has also been charged federally with nearly two dozen financial crimes.

While he initially pleaded not guilty to these charges, a change of plea hearing has been scheduled for 10:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday, September 21, 2023 at the Waring Judicial Center in Charleston, S.C. before district court judge Richard Gergel

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Jenn Wood (Provided)

Jenn Wood is FITSNews’ incomparable research director. She’s also the producer of the FITSFiles and Cheer Incorporated podcasts and leading expert on all things Murdaugh/ South Carolina justice. A former private investigator with a criminal justice degree, evildoers beware, Jenn Wood is far from your average journalist! A deep dive researcher with a passion for truth and a heart for victims, this mom of two is pretty much a superhero in FITSNews country. Did we mention she’s married to a rocket scientist? (Lucky guy!) Got a story idea or a tip for Jenn? Email her at jenn@fitsnews.com.

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11 comments

Avatar photo
VERITAS Top fan September 1, 2023 at 5:46 pm

Have at it, The Three Stooges, aka Griff Eleck Harpo. LOL!

Reply
Avatar photo
The Colonel Top fan September 2, 2023 at 12:11 am

Pooty Poot and Jimbo’s posturing aside, it is criminal that “waiting for a transcript” is a legitimate excuse in this day as AI is upon us. I seldom type a text though I send 20-30 daily and only seldom does my old apple phone get it wrong. A verified, digital transcript should be available for free the day the case is decided. Time for SC to fix this scam.

Pooty Poot and Jimbo have a tough row to hoe and even if they were to actually conduct some jury tampering and somehow prevail, Elick has confessed to hundreds of years worth of financial crimes. He’s staying in jail. I doubt PoJim will even get a judge to agree that there are matters to appeal. Bring on the financial crimes confession sessions!

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SubZeroIQ September 2, 2023 at 7:30 pm

If the lawyers have after-discovered evidence of innocence while an appeal from a conviction is pending, South Carolina law requires them to file a motion WITH THE COURT OF APPEALS to suspend the appeal so they may return to the trial court and present that evidence to the trial court. If the trial court orders a new trial, it has to vacate the conviction(s) first because, under the Fifth Amendment, no one can be tried for the same offense twice. I am NOT a lawyer, only better than most by several judges’ TRANSCRIBED compliments to me.
The French phrase for that principle is “autrefois convict ou autrefois acquit.” Also, if pardoned, the defendant cannot be retried.
So, the press conference Tuesday, God willing and God speed to them, is to announce that they are filing with the Court of Appeals a motion to suspend the appeal and the evidence (affidavits, transcripts, photos, etc.) to support that motion. It is considerate of them to hold that press conference and to probably hand out copies of what is getting filed to avoid the media swarming the Clerk’s office of the Court of Appeals, even though these motions should be on the court’s website few hours or days after they are filed.
So, if all, God willing, goes well for Alex Murdaugh (“AM”), who did NOT kill his wife or his younger son, the Court of Appeals grants his motion to suspend the appeal and he goes back to Judge Clifton Newman.
AM’s defense team should take it from me, the only innocent person EVER to have avoided a wrongful conviction in Judge Clifton Newman’s court (and, thank God, I did it WITHOUT A LAWYER): do NOT put all your eggs in one basket and do NOT leave anything on the table.
First and foremost, go back to the pathologist and get her notes to herself which she testified about and which she had not disclosed.
Second, get EXPERT testimony on the relationship between time of death and stomach contents.
Third, get EVERY internet video launched during trial, specially the so-called animation videos and get an expert to testify that AM could not have fallen back like the cardboard cut-outs in those animations. Living human beings have righting reflexes and other reflexes. Then compare those videos before the judge with the pages in the clerk’s book where she writes the visit to Moselle sealed it for the jurors and with the juror’s morning-after-verdict media interviews where they said EXACTLY what was on those animation videos.
Fourth, get Sara Cappelli’s video and her testimony about the video camera she secretly put at the Moselle entrance.
Fifth and finally, for heaven’s sake, clarify that the real killer(s) did NOT just go to Moselle hoping to find some guns sitting around. The real killer(s) went with one or both of Paul’s previously-stolen guns.
God speed and God bless.

Reply
PKFreeman September 3, 2023 at 2:05 am

The English phrase for that principle you wasted all that text on is “double jeopardy.” Beyond that, you are living in a legal fantasy world of your own design. Your account handle is incredibly apt. Lots of luck on finding “the real killer(s).”

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SubZeroIQ September 3, 2023 at 2:30 pm

But the phrase “double jeopardy” alone does not explain the scope of it, meaning that it includes BOTH the once-acquitted and the once-convicted. And in the latter case, why the conviction must be vacated before a new trial starts, with the defendant standing presumed innocent again.
I provide education to the willing-to-learn. If you cannot or would not help, PLEASE do not get in the way and rudely so.

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Petrano September 3, 2023 at 9:21 am

Years before the murder of Paul and Maggie, dozens of complaints were received by the SC Atty General’s office against Murdaugh’s law firm by the people who were ripped off. Both Alan Wilson and Henry McMaster informed their Assistant Attorney Generals to ignore the complaints against the Murdaughs. My son is one of the Asst Atty Gens who was repeatedly told to stand down.

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SubZeroIQ September 3, 2023 at 2:34 pm

Wow! And Brian ended up leaving Alan Wilson’s office altogether. Right?

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? September 3, 2023 at 11:43 am

who is funding the appeals?

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Flossip Top fan September 3, 2023 at 2:04 pm

From what I saw from their pitiful “defense” in court, Jim and Pootie Poot think they’re a hell of a lot smarter than they actually are. They are, however, expert at self-promotion and planting absolute nonsense in public. Too bad for them that it seems the State is smarter. Our best hope is that whatever $$$ the Murdaughs are coughing up for his over-priced defense fund is quickly consumed so we won’t have to hear from any of them anytime soon.

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SubZeroIQ September 3, 2023 at 2:48 pm

I do not think that is the problem at all.
I think the problem is that no one who knew Alex Murdaugh (“AM”) innocent of the murders, not even I, had understood ahead of time how stupidity becomes gospel if repeated often enough. For a man to up and shoot his beloved wife and younger son SOLELY to gain extra-sympathy, in addition to the sympathy he was getting from the death of his father is such a stupid idea no self-respecting, critical-thinking person could possibly have believed it.
But apparently only the lady with the dozen eggs, among the remaining 14 jurors, had that self-respect and critical thinking. We shall, God willing, soon see if other jurors had remorse and pangs of conscience.
Otherwise, if you don’t want to see AM’s dedicated defense team or AM himself on the news, just don’t look.

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SubZeroIQ September 4, 2023 at 11:19 pm

Prisoners do have rights.” The U.S. Supreme Court ruled UNANIMOUSLY, with Justice Alito writing the opinion, that they even have a right to grow a 1/4 inch beard if they want to UNLESS the prison officials can prove that a beard that short can be used to conceal a weapon.
I do not know if a Seikh inmate would be allowed to keep his hair; but fortunately not many Seikhs commit crimes in America. Let’s pray it stays this way.

Reply

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