Murdaughs

Attorney For Two Murdaugh Jurors Hospitalized Following Heart Attack

“It could have been much worse …”

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A prominent South Carolina attorney who represents two of the jurors in the still-unfolding Alex Murdaugh jury tampering saga was hospitalized this week after suffering a serious heart issue.

Joe McCulloch of Columbia, S.C. reportedly endured a heart attack on Monday (January 22, 2024).

Multiple sources familiar with McCulloch’s situation indicated he was in stable condition as of Tuesday morning (January 23, 2024) after undergoing an emergency procedure – adding that future procedures were likely necessary in the coming months.

“It could have been much worse,” a source close to McCulloch told this media outlet.

It is not immediately clear how McCulloch’s heart attack could impact his ability to represent his clients at next week’s big hearing on the jury tampering allegations. He is expected to be discharged from the hospital later this week, but it is not clear whether he will be cleared to practice law prior to his upcoming procedures.

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McCulloch’s clients are not parties to next week’s hearing, but one of them will be a witness at the proceedings. In fact, one of McCulloch’s clients – Juror No 630 – could wind up being a potentially decisive witness at the hearing.

McCulloch also represents the famed “egg juror,” who was removed from the deliberating panel in Murdaugh’s case on the final day of the trial following an alleged conspiracy led by embattled Colleton County clerk of court Becky Hill.

According to Murdaugh’s attorneys, Hill “invented a story about a Facebook post to remove a juror she believed might not vote guilty.” That story wound up being exposed as a “total fabrication,” Murdaugh’s lawyers insisted.

A fixture at Murdaugh’s trial in Walterboro, S.C. – dubbed the ‘Trial of the Century’ in the Palmetto State – McCulloch has been among the most recognizable attorneys in South Carolina its aftermath, making multiple television appearances on CourtTV and other networks.

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A longtime close friend of top Murdaugh lawyer Dick Harpootlian, McCulloch has long been seen as an advocate for the convicted killer receiving a new trial. Meanwhile, attorneys representing other jurors on the panel have publicly advocated against Murdaugh receiving a new trial.

So far, there is no indication his potential incapacitation ahead of next week’s hearing has given former S.C. chief justice Jean Toal cause to pause those deliberations. Assuming that changes, we will let our audience know.

Toal ruled decisively last week in favor of the state of South Carolina on several key points of law related to the upcoming hearing – dramatically reducing the odds Murdaugh will receive a new trial. However, Toal’s rulings may have opened the door for Murdaugh to pursue a successful appeal of her decision – particularly at the federal level.

BANNER: Tracy Glantz, The State/Pool

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

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 and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.

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4 comments

Avatar photo
VERITAS Top fan January 23, 2024 at 10:23 am

“Toal’s rulings may have opened the door for Murdaugh to pursue a successful appeal of her decision – particularly at the federal level.”

Not sure I understand what this means, What rulings would open the door for a “successful appeal” of Toals decision … and at the “federal level”?

Reply
Observation January 23, 2024 at 11:26 am

Joe looks rough in that photo. I wonder if he still takes on more clients at one time than he can adequately represent, as he did in the 1990’s and 2000’s.

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SouthernSimple January 24, 2024 at 1:28 pm

How many paying clients were adequately represented while he sat in that trial for six weeks? I would venture to say one…..I hope he makes a speedy recovery… but all I could envision was Harpootlian ( Mr. Abracadabra Hands)… insisting on a delay yelling”MOTIVE”… or maybe the defense wants a little extra time to figure out what to do with that September 5 th presser. The boys were sporting new sunglasses and said they knew immediately after the trial something was wrong with the jury.

Reply
SubZeroIQ January 24, 2024 at 5:30 pm

Jean Toal’s rulings limiting the evidence are legally wrong and motivated by her personal interest, or at least the personal interest of her brother’s law firm, Willoughby and Heofer.
The big story, FITS, if you dare to publish it, are the $68 million Alan Wilson gave to just two law firms. One is Ken Woodington, a retiree from Wilson’s office. The other is Jean Toal’s brother’s law firm, Willoughby and Heofer.
Even more complicating is that Jim Griffin is representing the public interest foundation opposing that payment.
Would Jean Toal be fair and impartial when at least $34 million to her brother are on the line?
When was Jean Toal EVER fair and impartial when her interests, the interests of her family and/or friends, or simply the interests of someone whose back Jean Toal wanted to scratch today in the hope of that someone scratching Jean Toal’s back tomorrow?
When Jean Toal ran for re-election as SC Chief Justice against Pleicones in 2013-2014, she was pointedly questioned about being “political” and “result-driven,” meaning she will decide ahead of time who should win then manipulate her opinion to justify that result whether that result is the fair one or not.
Yes, she continues to serve after retirement for peanuts in terms of direct payments in return for her court time. But that does not mean she is serving selflessly.
First, she testified in her reconfirmation hearing that she loves it. And there is no reason to doubt that testimony. Some things are stronger to addictions to substances. Can you make a retired maestro stop teaching music, for example, even for free? No; but not entirely for selfless reasons. That is what makes the maestro happy.
The trial court room is what makes Jean Toal happy now.
But something else makes her continue to sit. Without judicial power, she is a has-been and vulnerable to what was done to the trail-blazing Casey Manning and worse.

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