Murdaugh accomplice seeks retrial after fraud conviction

December 21, 2022 GMT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The banker recently convicted on six counts of wire and bank fraud — including helping since- disbarred attorney Alex Murdaugh in taking of money from clients’ legal settlements — wants a retrial, The State reported Wednesday.

Former Palmetto State Bank CEO Russell Laffitte filed a motion Tuesday seeking a hearing over “jury issues” related to his November trial, according to The State. It was the first trial related to the sprawling Murdaugh legal drama that has captivated true-crime audiences worldwide.

Laffitte was allowed to remain free on bail as he awaits sentencing at a later date. Each of the six charges he was convicted of in federal court carry a maximum sentence of up to 30 years in prison. He also faces 21 counts of financial crimes in state court.

Laffitte’s conviction came after U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel replaced two of the original jurors with alternates, The State reported. While those new jurors had been present for the trial, they had missed previous deliberations. Attorneys said in the filing that they want to admit two affidavits from the dismissed jurors describing any “improper influences” on jury deliberations and the circumstances surrounding her removal, The State reported.

Like Murdaugh, the convictions marked a fall from grace for Laffitte. The man named 2019 banker of the year by the Independent Banks of South Carolina was fired last year as head of the bank his family built.