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Clerk who wrote book on the Alex Murdaugh murder trial accused of plagiarism

A South Carolina court clerk has been accused of plagiarising passages from her book about disgraced lawyer Alex Murdaugh’s murder trial.

Rebecca Hill, the elected Clerk of Court for Colleton County, co-authored Behind the Doors of Justice: The Murdaugh Trial with journalist Neil Gordon. Now, Gordon says she took passages from a draft of a BBC article.

As a result, the book will be removed from publication and sales will be halted, according to a statement from the Georgia journalist.

“When I confronted Becky about this, she admitted she plagiarized the passage due to deadline pressures,” he said in the statement. “As a veteran journalist myself, I cannot excuse her behavior, nor can I condone it.”

“This has blindsided me,” he added.

Because the book was self-published in July, it was the authors’ decision to halt sales, Gordon told The Independent.

Ms Hill did not respond to The Independent’s request for comment. Attorneys Justin Bamberg and Will Lewis said in a statement that their client, Ms Hill, “accepts full responsibility for this unfortunate lapse in judgement” and has reached out to the BBC reporter to apologise.

Rebecca Hill has been accused of plagiarising parts of her book on the Alex Murdaugh murder trial. (Colleton County)
Rebecca Hill has been accused of plagiarising parts of her book on the Alex Murdaugh murder trial. (Colleton County)

Gordon made the allegations of plagiarism after Ms Hill’s emails from January to December 2023 were released to reporters following a Freedom of Information Act request.

The emails revealed exchanges between Ms Hill and a BBC News reporter, he says. Gordon alleges Ms Hill stole passages from the reporter’s draft of a story about the Murdaugh Trial and submitted it as her own work as part of the book’s preface.

Gordon says attorneys for the BBC are investigating his claims. The BBC declined to comment when contacted by The Independent.

This is not the first time Ms Hill has come under fire.

Earlier this year, Mr Murdaugh’s legal team accused Ms Hill of tampering with the jury after their client was convicted of murder.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Hill, son of Ms Hill, was arrested last month on wiretapping charges after he was accused of recording conversations while working for the county administration’s technology department. Ms Hill’s cell phone was later seized by law enforcement as part of the investigation into her son.