A memorandum was filed in Hampton County, South Carolina on January 19, 2024 by attorneys Ronnie Richter and Eric Bland. The two Midlands, S.C.-based lawyers are representing sisters Hannah Plyler and Alania Plyler Spohn, whose family members perished in a horrific accident in 2005. Hannah was eight years old and Alania was twelve when their mother and brother were killed.
Then-attorney Alex Murdaugh represented the sisters in a civil suit seeking damages over the fatal accident. When the case settled, Murdaugh appointed Laffitte to be their personal representative with oversight of millions of dollars intended for the sisters.
Laffitte used trust funds linked to the settlement to extend loans to Murdaugh – a breach of fiduciary duty for which he is currently serving a seven-year sentence in federal prison after his conviction on six counts of bank fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy, and misappropriation of bank funds.
The latest filing in the civil case against Laffitte comes in response to a January 18, 2024 motions hearing.
Since Alex Murdaugh is one of the witnesses expected to be called when the case goes to trial, there is a shrinking number of judges available to hear the case.
“Due to this witness, multiple judges have recused themselves from all matters involving the above captioned matter and this includes even simple matters such as scheduling,”
Additionally, judge Brooks P. Goldsmith – who presided over the recent motions hearing – will no longer be a judge as of July 31, 2024.
“Without an assigned judge, the case will sit in judicial limbo,” Bland and Richter noted.
The attorneys say they are pushing for a date certain so appropriate arrangements can be made to provide for the availability of the incarcerated defendant, Laffitte, and the infamous witness, Murdaugh.
“Defendant Russell Lucius Laffitte … is currently incarcerated at FCI Coleman in the State of Florida,” the memorandum stated. “This fact has proved to be an impediment to taking his remote video deposition for use at trial and it is foreseeable additional logistical issues will arise concerning the Defendant’s current physical location.”
The filing also warned of a large media presence at these proceedings given Murdaugh’s anticipated participation.
“Respectfully, all matters Murdaugh have a tendency to become complex,” the memorandum stated.
THE MEMORANDUM …
(S.C. Fourteenth Judicial Circuit)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Callie Lyons is a journalist, researcher, and author whose investigative work can be found in media outlets, publications, and documentaries all over the world – most recently in the Parisian newspaper Le Monde and a German documentary for ProSieben. Lyons also appears in Citizen Sleuth – a 2023 documentary exploring the genre of true crime.
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