Ethics Chaos: Court Clerk’s Misconduct Extends Beyond Jury Tampering


Court Clerk in Murdaugh Murder Trial Faces 76 Misconduct Charges

Colleton County, South Carolina – Former court clerk Becky Hill, who presided over the notorious Alex Murdaugh murder trial, is now facing a staggering 76 counts of misconduct, according to a notice of hearing released by the State Ethics Commission.

Accusations of Financial Gain

Hill is accused of exploiting her official position as clerk to benefit financially. Specifically, the commission alleges that she:

  • Promoted her book on the Murdaugh case, part of which she admitted to plagiarizing.
  • Sent herself nearly ,000 in federal bonuses as child support payments.
  • Used federal funds to provide food and gifts to court employees, including “Easter Goodies” and various other presents.
  • Made personal purchases such as paint supplies, furniture, and pet supplies using public money.

Allegations of Jury Tampering

Apart from the financial misconduct, Hill also faces allegations of jury tampering in the Murdaugh murder trial that took place in January 2023. South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is investigating these claims, which include:

  • Using her position to gather information about the jury through a friend.
  • Attempting to contact jurors during deliberations through text messages and phone calls.

Resignation Amidst Investigations

Hill resigned from her position as Colleton County clerk in March 2023, following allegations of jury tampering. However, her attorney, Justin Bamberg, claims that the investigations had no influence on her decision.

Judge Rejects Murdaugh’s Request for a New Trial

Despite the misconduct allegations against Hill, Judge Jean Toal rejected Alex Murdaugh’s request for a new murder trial in January 2024. After interviewing jurors, Toal concluded that Hill’s actions did not sway their decision to convict Murdaugh of killing his wife and son in 2021.

Impact of the Trial on the Clerk’s Office

In a press conference shortly before her resignation, Becky Hill acknowledged the high-profile nature of the Murdaugh trial and its impact on the clerk’s office:

“Managing a trial with such importance to the people of South Carolina, as well as to the national and international media interest and public scrutiny, has caused me to reflect upon decisions involving my stay in the office of clerk of court.”

Allegations of Influence Peddling

The State Ethics Commission has also accused Hill of using her position to influence peddle for county officials, organizations, and businesses. For instance, she is said to have:

  • Arranged jobs and contracts for her friends’ family members.
  • Used her office to intimidate and retaliate against those who she perceived as opponents.
  • Charged excessive fees for court-related services.

Ongoing Investigations and Public Scrutiny

SLED continues its investigation into Hill’s conduct. The public is closely following the developments, as the allegations against the former courthouse clerk cast a shadow over the integrity of the Murdaugh murder trial and the Colleton County clerk’s office as a whole.

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