CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Russell Laffitte, an alleged accomplice of Alex Murdaugh, is expected to defend himself in court Friday as part of his ongoing federal trial. Laffitte faces several federal charges for financial crimes connected to Murdaugh.
Twenty-two people — 15 for the federal government and seven for the defense — have testified since the trial began November 8. The most important testimony of the trial will likely come Friday morning when Laffitte takes the stand.
Prosecutors say their evidence shows Laffitte was a willing participant in schemes with Murdaugh to swindle millions of dollars away from Murdaugh’s law clients, for whom Laffitte served as a conservator.
On the flip side, Laffitte’s defense says their client was another victim of Murdaugh and disbursed the money at the direction of Murdaugh.
Testimony during the trial has uncovered information in the investigations of Murdaugh, his financials, and potential evidence. When the trial resumes tomorrow morning, former South Carolina Attorney General Charlie Condon says Laffitte’s testimony will need to be compelling and sincere if he wants to be acquitted.
“I do think that the telling point in this trial is going to be his testimony,” says Condon. “It appears the government is on its way to a very quick verdict here, in my humble opinion. To stop a quick verdict here and to try and get deliberation going that could be in his favor, he not only has to do well in direct examination, but he’s also going to have to do well in cross-examination.”
Laffitte’s trial will resume Friday morning in Downtown Charleston at 9:00 a.m. after a break on Thursday. Laffitte’s defense expects to call two more witnesses on Friday before resting its case. US District Judge Richard Gergel is hopeful closing arguments and deliberation will begin on Monday morning.