CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Former Palmetto State Bank CEO Russell Laffitte is calling for a new trial just weeks after he was found guilty on multiple federal charges including bank and wire fraud.
In a new filing, attorneys identified a number of instances during the November 2022 trial which they believe should prompt a new trial including a claim about the submission of evidence and instruction for the jury.
One of the more notable examples provided in the filing focused on a change in jury – they noted that two jurors were “improperly dismissed” and replaced with alternates following several hours of deliberations “only to have a newly constituted jury return a guilty verdict 40 minutes later.”
Attorneys feel Laffitte was prejudiced by excusing jurors. “Here, even apart from the process to remove two jurors, the evidence shows that Mr. Laffitte was prejudiced in that the jury did not begin their deliberations anew or on a clean slate,” records show.
“The original jury deliberated for about ten hours, reviewed over 300 documents, including tapes, sent two notes with questions about exhibits, and they still had not arrived at a verdict. After two jurors were replaced, the jury came back with a verdict in just under forty minutes,” attorneys stated.
Laffitte was ultimately found guilty on all six of the following counts including: Conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, and three counts of misapplication of bank funds.