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Alex Murdaugh in Court Today Trying to Get Murder Conviction Thrown Out on Claim of Jury Tampering

Murdaugh's lawyers allege that Rebecca Hill, the Colleton County Clerk of Court, repeatedly discussed his case with the jury in ways that made him appear guilty

<p>Tracy Glantz/The State via AP</p> Alex Murdaugh during a hearing on Jan. 16, 2024

Tracy Glantz/The State via AP

Alex Murdaugh during a hearing on Jan. 16, 2024

Convicted family murderer and disgraced lawyer Alex Murdaugh is back in a South Carolina courtroom today hoping to be granted a new trial.

The hearing comes after Murdaugh's attorneys claimed Rebecca Hill, the Colleton County Clerk of Court, tampered with the jury and “advising them not to believe Murdaugh's testimony and other evidence presented by the defense, pressuring them to reach a quick guilty verdict, and even misrepresenting critical and material information to the trial judge in her campaign to remove a juror she believed to be favorable to the defense," according to a motion for a new trial filed by Murdaugh’s defense attorneys Richard Harpootlian and James Griffin, which was previously reviewed by PEOPLE.

Last March, Murdaugh was found guilty of the 2021 murders of his wife, Maggie, 52, and youngest son, Paul, 22. Jurors deliberated for less than three hours before delivering the guilty verdicts. His surviving son Buster Murdaughwho testified during the trial — was in the courtroom when the verdicts were read.

<p>Tracy Glantz/The State via AP</p> Alex Murdaugh on Jan. 16. 2024

Tracy Glantz/The State via AP

Alex Murdaugh on Jan. 16. 2024

Murdaugh's defense team moved for a mistrial after the guilty verdicts were handed down, but the motion was quickly denied by the judge overseeing the case at the time.

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"The evidence of guilt is overwhelming, and I deny the motion," state Circuit Judge Clifton Newman said at the time. Murdaugh was subsequently sentenced to two life sentences in prison for the murders.

Related: Murdaugh Murders: A Complete Timeline of Alex Murdaugh's Trial

Murdaugh's lawyers are now alleging that Hill had repeatedly referenced Murdaugh to the jury in ways that made him appear guilty. They also claim she made efforts to remove a juror she wasn’t confident would turn in a guilty verdict. Murdaugh’s attorneys also claim Hill “pressured the jurors to reach a quick verdict, telling them from the outset of their deliberations that it ‘shouldn’t take them long,’ “ the motion reads.

Earlier this month, South Carolina Supreme Court Justice Jean Toal ruled that Murdaugh's lawyers must prove that the alleged misconduct by Hill caused the guilty verdict and prejudice against Murdaugh, the Associated Press and The Philadelphia Inquirer report. The AP also reports that Judge Newman recused himself from the case last year.

<p>Tracy Glantz/The State via AP</p> Alex Murdaugh on Jan. 16, 2024

Tracy Glantz/The State via AP

Alex Murdaugh on Jan. 16, 2024

In November, Murdaugh pleaded guilty to 22 financial crimes, including wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, bank fraud and more, the South Carolina Attorney General's office previously confirmed to PEOPLE.

Related: Everything to Know About the Murdaugh Family Murders, Including Alex's Conviction

His financial crimes victims included the family of his longtime housekeeper Gloria Satterfield, who died in a mysterious trip and fall at the Murdaugh estate.

“He's a modern-day monster," Attorney Eric Bland, who represented the Satterfield family and others, previously told PEOPLE. "He’s the devil."

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