Lowcountry banker convicted on fraud charges seeks new trial
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The former Lowcountry bank CEO who was convicted in November on six counts relating to financial fraud is asking for a new trial.
Russell Laffitte, the former chief executive officer of Palmetto State Bank, was convicted on Nov. 22 on one count each of conspiracy to commit wire or bank fraud, bank fraud and aiding and abetting bank fraud, and wire fraud and aiding and abetting wire fraud; and three counts of misapplication of bank funds and aiding and abetting misapplication of bank funds. Prosecutors accused him of conspiring with accused former Lowcountry attorney Alex Murdaugh in the fraud cases.
Attorneys for Laffitte, 51, filed a motion for a new trial on Tuesday, basing the motion on the fact that two jurors were “improperly dismissed and replaced with alternates, only to have a newly constituted jury return a guilty verdict 40 minutes later.”
“One of those jurors requested removal based on her dissenting status, and the error in her removal constitutes a miscarriage of justice,” the motion states.
The motion also alleges the court erroneously allowed the state to “intentionally distort the factual distinction between Arthur Badger and the Estate of Donna Badger; in refusing to admit evidence involving dissent and disagreement within Palmetto State Bank motivating board members’ testimony; in refusing to admit evidence of Alex Murdaugh’s illegal negotiation of checks with Bank of America; and in failing to instruct the jury on Mr. Laffitte’s advice-of-counsel defense given the evidence presented.”
Each charge carries a maximum sentence of up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.
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