Statement from Chief Justice Donald W. Beatty on Assignment of Judges to Murdaugh Cases
Contrary to innuendos and misinformation contained in recent news coverage, Judge Clifton Newman was never removed from, or “reassigned” to, the Murdaugh cases. Judge Newman was initially assigned primarily to handle search warrants requested by SLED, and he still has that responsibility. Subsequent to assigning Judge Verdin to handle the first batch of charges from the State Grand Jury, it became clear that the circumstances of all the charges indicted thus far were intertwined and included some of the same evidence. As a result, I concluded that the most efficient use of personnel and resources would result from assigning the known charges to one judge. Judge Newman's early involvement in the warrant requests put him in the best position to handle the trials. Other judges may be assigned to handle future indictments.