CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Attorneys for Russell Laffitte filed a motion Tuesday requesting a hearing be held regarding perceived issues with the dismissal of jurors during a previous trial, in which Laffitte was found guilty of committing multiple financial crimes alongside disgraced former Hampton County attorney Alex Murdaugh.
The motion calls into question the validity of the guilty verdict, which was reached after over 11 hours of deliberation and the dismissal of two jurors.
In a separate Tuesday filing, Laffitte asked for affidavits from the two dismissed jurors describing their experiences to be sealed.
According to the filing, both describe “improper influences on jury deliberations, [the juror’s] experience as a juror, and the circumstances surrounding [the juror’s] removal.”
The affidavits were prepared to support Laffitte’s previously filed motion requesting a new trial. Sealing the documents would protect the jurors and ensure anonymity, according to the motion.
The motion also states that the affidavits “raise safety concerns in relation to other jurors on the panel, further underscoring the need to provide the information to the Court under seal.”
During the trial, jurors complained about anxiety, pressure to change votes, and a hostile environment.
After the alternate jurors were brought in, Laffitte’s defense objected to replacing one of the jurors on the basis of anxiety, arguing that it should have resulted in a hung jury.
Judge Richard Gergel allowed the deliberations to continue, and the jury quickly found Laffitte guilty of:
- Conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud
- Bank fraud
- Wire Fraud
- Misapplication of bank funds (x3)
The government is required to file a response to the motion for a new trial by Wednesday.