The ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga stormed back to the top of the headlines this week as attorneys for South Carolina’s most notorious convicted killer, Alex Murdaugh, filed a potentially paradigm-shifting motion in connection with his bid for a new trial. This filing has set the stage for a high-stakes showdown in front of the Palmetto State’s highest court – one which could determine whether the state must try Murdaugh a second time for the murders of his wife and younger son.
Murdaugh’s filing before the S.C. supreme court seeks to have popular circuit court judge Clifton Newman taken off the case – and replaced by another judge. This risky gambit comes as the court’s investigation into seismic jury tampering allegations is preparing to get underway.
Murdaugh attorneys Dick Harpootlian, Jim Griffin, Phillip Barber and Margaret Fox argued Newman is incapable of sitting in judgment over such an inquiry because he is potentially a witness to it – and because he’s made numerous comments evidencing a bias against Murdaugh in the aftermath of the latter’s double homicide trial earlier this year.
Accordingly, they dropped a pair of motions before the supreme court on Wednesday (November 1, 2023) – one asking for Newman to be prohibited from hearing further Murdaugh-related cases and a second asking for all of those cases to be put on hold pending a decision regarding the judge’s status.
Our research director Jenn Wood (with help from researcher/ reporter Callie Lyons) broke down the bid to oust Newman in this in-depth article – which we made available exclusively to our subscribers. This article detailed the specific claims against Newman, the judicial canons he allegedly violated and the potential remedies the court could impose if it decided to disqualify him from hearing further Murdaugh-related matters.
Will Newman be forced off the case? Should he be? And if he is removed, how would that impact Murdaugh’s bid for a new trial? Jenn and I break down all of those questions – and more – in this week’s edition of our popular Week In Review segment.
Thanks again to everyone who tuned in this week. As I often note, your support is essential – enabling everything we do here at FITSNews. If you want to help us continue holding those in power accountable, please consider subscribing today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
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 (soon to be eight) children.
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