Former Palmetto National Bank CEO, alleged Murdaugh conspirator Russell Laffitte testifies in own defense | Techy Kings


CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – Russell Laffitte testified in his own defense in federal court Friday morning. A bank employee and former probate judge also testified.

Laffitte is accused of conspiring to commit various financial crimes to help Alex Murdaugh steal nearly $2 million in client money.

In his testimony, Laffitte said everything he did was a mistake and not intentional. He used the analogy of when someone doesn’t realize their partner is cheating. “How did I miss all the signs they were in front of me. They are. But I miss them. As you hear about this experiment, everyone is doing it. And I wish I hadn’t,” Laffitte said.

Laffitte’s attorney asked him “Did you help anyone steal money?” to which he replied “Unintentionally. I really did it by accident.”

Laffitte testified that he and Murdaugh knew each other but ran in different social circles. “The Murdaugh family…they are the law in Hampton County. They are very influential is an understatement. When it comes to Hampton, they help get judges elected, they help get sheriffs elected. They have their finger in it,” Laffitte said.

Laffitte described Murdaugh as boisterous and chaotic. He said when Murdaugh walked into a bank or a room he made demands and people did what he asked. “Every relationship I had with him, now I suspect, what is the ulterior motive,” Laffitte said.


The defense listed all the times Laffitte had attended interviews with SLED, the FBI, the attorney general and the Office of Disciplinary Law. Laffitte said repeatedly because he had nothing to hide.

Laffitte addressed several conservatories. He said Murdaugh asked him to take on the role, and he agreed to help his friend. According to Laffitte, he would sign a space on the document Murdaugh put in front of him because he trusted the lawyer.

In managing Hannah and Alania Plyler’s account, Laffitte said every time he made a loan from the account, he did so because he thought it would benefit the girls. The former probate judge testified that the conservator did not need to negotiate for the loan because it was expected to return to the account, at a higher amount with interest. Laffitte said the loan to himself and Murdaugh would earn more money in interest. Laffitte also testified that he did not know Alania Plyler spent time living in her car until her testimony at trial.

As for the checks Murdaugh brought to Palmetto State Bank and asked to be cut and applied to different accounts, Laffitte said he rarely saw the memo line. He cuts all the checks because Murdaugh comes up with a story every time. Laffitte filed each check in probate court because he said he wasn’t hiding anything. Laffitte went on to say he never knew any money was stolen.

Laffitte said that when Jeanne Seckinger of the PMPED firm came to him and raised suspicions about Murdaugh, that’s when he began to investigate. “I realized what it looked like, and I realized how it got to me. I was sick, angry… He put me there,” Laffitte said of Murdaugh.

Throughout his testimony, Laffitte said how he could see things he would not have done or would have done differently.


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