WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCBD) — A juror in the Alex Murdaugh murder trial has been removed due to improper conduct, according to Judge Clifton Newman.
Judge Newman made the announcement as the court resumed session Thursday morning, saying that juror number 785 had inappropriate contact with at least three individuals and offered her opinion on evidence that has been presented in the case.
Those individuals were brought in and interviewed, and a hearing was held in chambers. Judge Newman determined the juror would be removed and replaced.
Meanwhile, defense attorney Dick Harpootlian said the people who conducted the interviews were agents with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), one of whom is a witness in the case and another who was an investigating agent. He said it is another example of the calamity of issues SLED has had.
Judge Newman brought the juror out before the session began and dismissed her. He said she has been, by all accounts, a great juror who smiled consistently and has been seemingly invested in the case.
The judge said he was not suggesting that she intentionally did anything wrong but told the juror that she must be dismissed to preserve the integrity of the case.
Judge Newman encouraged the juror not to speak publicly until after the trial but said she had the right to speak if she wished.