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Homesouth carolinaAlex Murdaugh's lawyers ask South Carolina Supreme Court to kick judge off...

Alex Murdaugh’s lawyers ask South Carolina Supreme Court to kick judge off murder case

Attorneys for convicted killer Alex Murdaugh asked the South Carolina Supreme Court Wednesday to remove Judge Clifton Newman from his case one week after filing a motion for a new trial.

The judge sentenced Murdaugh, 55, to two life terms in March for the murder of his wife, Maggie, and his son, Paul, after a Colleton County jury voted to convict on all counts.

Defense lawyers Jim Griffin and Dick Harpootlian have argued that Murdaugh deserves a new trial based, in part, on allegations that court clerk Becky Hill pressured jurors to return a guilty verdict to land a book deal.

In the latest filing, the attorneys allege that Newman was a witness in matters that will feature prominently in a hearing for a new trial, and it would be a conflict for him to preside over that proceeding.

Griffin and Harpootlian have repeatedly requested that Newman recuse himself, but he has declined.

Newman, who will turn 72 this month, is expected to retire by the end of the year. 

The South Carolina Attorney’s Office, which is prosecuting Murdaugh, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the lead prosecutor would object to the motion. 

Rebecca Rosenberg is a veteran journalist and book author with a focus on crime and criminal justice. Email tips to rebecca.rosenberg@fox.com and @ReRosenberg.

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