Court Clerk Accused Of Influencing Alex Murdaugh Jury Resigns | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire. The author of this post is Ashe Schow.

    The court clerk accused of jury tampering by Alex Murdaugh's attorneys has resigned, nearly two months after the allegations failed to get Murdaugh a new trial.

    Rebecca Hill, who has denied any wrongdoing, stepped down on Monday and said she would not run for re-election, CNN reported. Hill held a press conference to announce her decision.

    She said she was proud of her work as a court clerk, including her management of "one of the biggest trials in South Carolina history," referring to the Murdaugh trial.

    Murdaugh was convicted last year of the murders of his wife, Maggie, and youngest son, Paul. Hill said during her press conference that the trial caused her "to reflect upon decisions involving my stay in the office of the clerk of court."

    "As we fix our eyes forward, I would like to announce also that my resignation as clerk of court will be effective immediately," she added.

    In January, Murdaugh was denied a new trial based on his allegations against Hill, even though the judge sharply criticized Hill for her actions during the proceedings. South Carolina Judge Jean Toal denied Murdaugh's bid for a new trial while condemning Hill in her remarks about her ruling, CNN reported at the time. Toal said Hill was "attracted by the siren call of celebrity" and that she "wanted to write a book about the trial and expressed that as early as November 2022, long before the trial began."

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    Hill has denied the allegations against her, but Toal determined that Hill had told another clerk and others of "her desire for a guilty verdict because it would sell books."

    "She made comments about Murdaugh's demeanor as he testified and she made some of those comments before he testified to at least one and maybe more jurors," Toal said, according to CNN. "Did clerk of court Hill's comments have any impact on the verdict of the jury? I find that the answer to this question is no."

    Toal added that the jurors determined Murdaugh to be guilty "without fear or favor" but that Hill "allowed public attention of the moment to overcome her duty."

    "I simply do not believe that the authority of our South Carolina Supreme Court requires a new trial in a very lengthy trial such as this on the strength of some fleeting and foolish comments by a publicity-influenced clerk of courts," Toal said, according to CNN.

    Toal further explained that she had personally interviewed each juror and that 11 of them said that they either hadn't heard any comments from Hill or, of those who had, that those comments did not affect their judgment. The 12th juror, according to Toal, was "ambivalent" during testimony and only said she felt pressure from other jurors.

    That juror, according to NPR, testified that Hill made comments that indicated Hill thought Murdaugh was guilty. Brian Entin, senior national correspondent for NewsNation, posted on X during the hearing that the juror "said her verdict WAS influenced by the clerk of court."

    CBS reported that the juror, identified only as Juror Z, answered "Yes ma'am," when the judge asked if Hill's comments affected her vote. The juror later told the judge that she stood by an earlier sworn affidavit that said the other jurors influenced her to vote guilty more than Hill's comments.

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    In his closing arguments, Murdaugh's attorney Jim Griffin cited case law while arguing that any communication from court staff to jurors is considered prejudicial and that the defense proved Hill had prejudicial communications with jurors. He argued that "one of those jurors says it influenced my verdict. How is that not prejudice?"

    Murdaugh has denied killing his wife and son but pleaded guilty to various financial crimes and was sentenced to 27 years in prison.

    He still has appeals available for the murder convictions.
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