The legal team for disgraced trial lawyer and convicted double murderer Alex Murdaugh are filing a motion for a new trial based on what they say is newly “discovered evidence,” Law&Crime has learned.
On Sept. 5, defense attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin will hold a press conference on the southern lawn of the South Carolina State House grounds, adjacent to the Palmetto State’s the Court of Appeals, a representative said in an email.
The nature of the new evidence has not been revealed.
“This press conference will be discussing a newly filed motion for a new trial based on after discovered evidence,” Murdaugh’s legal team told Law&Crime. “We will distribute copies of the filing on Tuesday morning.”
On March 2, after a trial taking up the better part of six weeks, Murdaugh’s peers found him guilty on all counts in the Colleton County Courthouse. The defendant was convicted of killing his wife, Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, 52, with an AR-style rifle, and their youngest son, Paul Murdaugh, 22, with a shotgun in the dog kennels at the family’s expansive hunting lodge known as Moselle. The timestamp on that decision was 6:41 p.m. EST. Ultimately, jurors spent just shy of three hours deciding his fate.
The trial itself was something not entirely unlike a marathon. What was initially anticipated to take around three weeks easily spilled into nearly six full weeks of testimony, argument and exhibits.
Murdaugh also faces numerous financial crimes charges related to his admitted series of swindles as an esteemed Lowcountry lawyer who spiraled deeper and deeper into drug addiction.
In May, a federal grand jury sitting in Charleston handed down a 22-count, 28-page indictment accusing him of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering.
Tragedy and death have, for several years, plagued the Murdaughs and those in their immediate orbit.
Murdaugh is also the subject of various civil lawsuits – including one filed by the sons of Gloria Satterfield, the longtime Murdaugh family housekeeper who died at the age of 57 in 2018 at the family’s since-sold off hunting lodge.
In July, the convicted killer settled a long-running lawsuit filed by the family of Mallory Beach, a teenage girl who died when his eventually-murdered son drunkenly piloted a boat that crashed into a bridge.
Some time after his conviction, the jurist who oversaw the case, Judge Clifton Newman was interviewed by Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Brendan J. Sheehan and asked to opine on various aspects of the trial including the terse deliberations.
“In my mind, no doubt, he loved his family,” Newman mused during the tête-à-tête. “I don’t believe that he hated his wife. And, certainly I did not believe that he did not love his son. But he committed an unforgivable, unimaginable crime. And there’s no way that he’ll be able to sleep peacefully given those facts.”
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