Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman, who called Murdaugh a "monster" after sentencing him to life, will not oversee Murdaugh's appeal of his murder conviction
Alex Murdaugh’s recent motion to remove the judge who chastised him after his double murder conviction in March from overseeing his upcoming financial misconduct trial was denied.
But on Thursday, that same judge, Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman, recused himself from any involvement in future murder-related cases involving Murdaugh, 55, as the disgraced attorney tries to overturn his conviction from prison.
On Friday, in a separate case, Murdaugh pleaded guilty to 22 financial crimes. He had been scheduled to go to trial on Nov. 27 before the plea agreement.
According to an order filed by the South Carolina Supreme Court's chief justice and first reported by FITSNews.com, Newman "has requested that a new judge be assigned to handle the post-trial motions involving the murder charges.”
In March, Newman sentenced Murdaugh to two consecutive life sentences for murdering his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and their son Paul, 22 at Moselle, their hunting lodge in Colleton County, PEOPLE previously reported.
Just before he was sentenced, Murdaugh told the judge he would never hurt his wife or son.
Citing Murdaugh’s admitted opioid addiction, Newman rebuked him, saying, "It might not have been you. It might have been the monster you've become when you take 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 opioid pills," PEOPLE previously reported.
“Maybe you become another person. I've seen that before," Newman continued. "The person standing before me was not the person who committed the crime, though is the same individual."
In legal filings, Murdaugh’s lawyers had said they were concerned with Newman’s impartiality, especially after remarks he made in an interview with NBC’s “TODAY” show in June.
In a legal filing, Murdaugh’s attorneys took issue with Newman sharing his thoughts on Murdaugh’s guilt, referencing when Newman said, “I cannot imagine him having a peaceful night." His lawyers also objected to the fact that Newman discussed in interviews Murdaugh's legal team's strategy, News 19 reports.
Murdaugh's agreement in his financial crimes case saw him plead guilty to multiple charges including money laundering, breach of trust and financial fraud. If the agreement is approved, he would serve 27 years for the financial crimes, CNN reported.
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