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Courthouse clerk who wrote book on Alex Murdaugh trial lawyers up after convicted killer claims she had an ax to grind and coached jurors

Alex Murdaugh, Becky Hill

Alex Murdaugh (L), Becky Hill (C) reading the verdict sealing Murdaugh’s fate on March 2, 2023 (Law&Crime Network)

The courthouse clerk at the center of convicted double murderer Alex Murdaugh’s motion for a new trial has lawyered up in the face of accusations that she tampered with jurors to ensure a guilty verdict and violated the defendant’s constitutional rights.

Attorney Justin Bamberg, a Democratic state representative in South Carolina who has served as the lawyer for victims of Alex Murdaugh’s staggering frauds, and attorney Will Lewis have been retained to represent Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca “Becky” Hill amid the controversy, The State reported.

Bamberg would be a familiar name to anyone who has closely watched commentary on the murders of Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, 52, and Paul Murdaugh, 22, who where shot to death at the Murdaugh family’s Moselle property on June 7, 2021.

Bamberg appeared in the HBO documentary “Low Country,” including the episode “The Milk Ain’t Clean,” referring to the regional phrase “something in the milk ain’t clean” that the lawyer said on the series.

Will Lewis is a former federal prosecutor with experience in violent crime, corruption, and fraud cases.

The additions of lawyers Bamberg and Lewis came not long after Murdaugh defense lawyers Dick Harpootlian, a Democratic state senator, and Jim Griffin announced the motion for a new trial, which asserted clerk Hill “instructed jurors not to be ‘misled’ by evidence presented in Mr. Murdaugh’s defense” and “told jurors not to be ‘fooled by’ Mr. Murdaugh’s testimony in his own defense.”

What’s more, the Murdaugh lawyers alleged, Hill had “frequent private conversations with the jury foreperson, a Court-appointed substitution for the foreperson the jury elected for itself at the request of Ms. Hill.”

As Law&Crime reported Tuesday, Murdaugh’s lawyers said they have “sworn affidavit testimony” from jurors and “a witness to juror interviews, testimony at in camera proceedings, and other evidence” to support their claims.

One juror, according to the defense, said Hill told them, “Y’all are going to hear things that will throw you all off. Don’t let this distract you or mislead you.”

The Murdaugh defense also asserted alleged that Hill polled jurors during the trial “for their opinions about Mr. Murdaugh’s guilt or innocence” and “invented a story about a Facebook post to remove a juror she believed might not vote guilty.”

“Judge Newman asked [Hill] to produce a copy of the posting,” the motion for a new trial said. “She could not produce a copy.”

Beyond that, Hill was accused if pressuring the jury to quickly convict Murdaugh, “telling them from the outset of their deliberations that it ‘shouldn’t take them long.'”

Murdaugh’s lawyers claim Hill “did these things to secure for herself a book deal and media appearances that would not happen in the event of a mistrial” and “betrayed her oath of office for money and fame.”

Hill, indeed, wrote a book about the Murdaugh case: “Behind the Doors of Justice: The Murdaugh Murders,” published as recently as July.

On Amazon, the book touts testimonials about the “courthouse insider” account of Alex Murdaugh’s trial from Becky Hill, who “had known the Murdaugh family for decades.”

“Family members of Becky’s were involved in the moonshine conspiracy together in the 1950s where Buster Murdaugh was later indicted and then acquitted,” the book’s description said. “For years, Becky had known about the rumors of corruption and crime surrounding the Murdaugh family. These accusations came and went, nothing sticking long enough to bring clarity or a clear conviction.”

“Join her on her journey as she visits the crime scene, shares heartfelt details about the Judge and people involved, navigates the massive media frenzy, delves into her own family’s history with the Murdaughs, and ultimately, reads the guilty verdicts on live television,” the description went on.

Hill did, in fact, read the verdict aloud in court on March 2:

The defense lawyers, in a letter to the U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina, requested an “urgent” federal criminal investigation into whether Hill deprived Murdaugh “of his rights under the Constitution.”

“Ms. Hill acted ‘under color’ of South Carolina law,” the letter said. “She is the elected Clerk of Court charged with ‘jury management.’ Every interaction she had with any juror during the murder trial was under the pretense of authority granted by state law.”

Notably, Hill attorney Will Lewis used to work as an assistant U.S. attorney in the District of South Carolina, where Murdaugh’s lawyers have requested the criminal probe.

Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.