Judge in Murdaugh Murder Case Speaks Out

Clifton Newman says he wasn't affected by the 'interest and notoriety' surrounding case
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2023 1:25 PM CDT
Judge in Murdaugh Murder Case Speaks Out
Alex Murdaugh listens as he is sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for the murder of his wife and son by Judge Clifton Newman at the Colleton County Courthouse on Friday, March 3, 2023 in Walterboro, SC.   (Joshua Boucher/The State via AP, Pool)

South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman has spoken publicly about the Alex Murdaugh case for the first time since he sentenced the disgraced former attorney to two life terms for the murders of son Paul Murdaugh and wife Maggie Murdaugh. In remarks at Cleveland State University College of Law on Tuesday, the judge said he was not affected by the "interest and notoriety" surrounding the case because "I was engaged in the process of what I had to do," CNN reports. "I was simply a judge in a trial doing my job as I’ve done repeatedly over the years," Newman said. "It was an important case, all cases are, any case where you have a murder."

The case "had the added notoriety because it involved a lawyer who had been accused of stealing over $8 million from a number of clients," Newman said. "A lawyer who admittedly was strung out on drugs and more than anything else, a man who’s accused of killing his wife and his son." During sentencing, the judge told Murdaugh that it had been "one of the most troubling cases" he'd ever dealt with. Newman said Tuesday that he allowed evidence of Murdaugh's 99 alleged financial crimes because "once a defendant takes the stand and testifies, almost everything is fair game at that point," NBC reports. Newman is also handling the financial crimes case, which has yet to go to trial.

The judge also expanded on a remark he made to Murdaugh during sentencing: "I know you have to see Paul and Maggie during the nighttime when you're attempting to go to sleep. I'm sure they come to visit you." On Tuesday, Newman said, "In my mind, no doubt he loved his family," per Fox News. "I don't believe that he hated his wife and certainly do not believe he did not love his son, but he committed an unforgivable, unimaginable crime and there's no way that he'll be able to sleep peacefully." (More Alex Murdaugh stories.)

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