BEAUFORT, S.C. (WCBD) — The U.S. government argued in a motion Thursday that Alex Murdaugh’s testimony during his murder trial should not warrant a retrial for ex-Palmetto State Bank CEO Russell Laffitte, who was convicted in a separate trial of helping Murdaugh carry out several financial crimes.
Laffitte was found guilty in November of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud and three counts of misapplication of bank funds. His lawyers filed his first request for a retrial shortly after the verdict, arguing that two jurors were improperly dismissed.
The government opposed that motion, arguing that no new trial should be given because the previous trial was carried out properly and that Laffitte’s defense lawyers did not take action until after the verdict was reached. The request was denied.
During Murdaugh’s trial for killing his wife and son, prosecutors questioned Murdaugh about the roughly 100 financial crimes for which he has been indicted. Murdaugh admitted to all of the crimes but insisted that he committed them on his own.
Following that testimony, Laffitte filed his second motion for a retrial, arguing that Murdaugh cleared his name.
The government argued against that logic in the latest filing, claiming that Murdaugh’s testimony is not new evidence, which would be required to bring a retrial. Additionally, the motion claims that the evidence presented in the previous trial contradicts Murdaugh’s claims that Laffitte did not knowingly assist in carrying out the crimes.
The filing goes on to say that Murdaugh’s testimony is unlikely to produce an acquittal, calling into question Murdaugh’s credibilty.
“It is difficult to imagine the Defendant relying on a less credible witness to support his claim for a new trial,” the motion reads. “Over two days of testimony during his murder trial, Murdaugh admitted to lying to his clients and stealing money from them for years… Murdaugh is not a credible witness.”
Ultimately, the government asked the court to deny the request for retrial, saying that it is “based solely on the testimony of an unindicted coconspirator who has now admitted that for years, he stole money from his clients and lied to his family, friends, law partners, employees, clients, and law enforcement.”
Murdaugh has yet to stand trial for the financial crimes.