Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire. The author of this post is Ashe Schow.
A banker convicted of helping Alex Murdaugh steal money from people who hired him to be their attorney has been sentenced to seven years in prison.
Former Palmetto State Bank CEO Russell Laffitte, 51, was sentenced on Tuesday after he was convicted of six charges of wire and bank fraud last November. Laffitte will become the first of Murdaugh's accomplices to face prison time, NBC News reported.
He helped Murdaugh steal nearly $2 million from clients' legal settlements, and, along with prison time, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel ordered the accomplice to pay more than $3 million in restitution, The Post and Courier reported.
Prosecutors argued that Laffitte used his position to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars from Murdaugh's clients, sending some of the money back to the disgraced attorney to pay his debts and maintain his opioid addiction.
Laffitte has maintained his innocence, claiming that he didn't know he was doing anything illegal and that he had been manipulated by Murdaugh.
Laffitte's trial was the first connected to the web of crime of which Murdaugh has been accused, including more than 100 charges related to money laundering, drug offenses, and more. In March, Murdaugh was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences.
Murdaugh was found guilty of murdering his wife, Maggie, and youngest son, Paul, in an alleged attempt to distract from his numerous financial crimes, for which he still faces prosecution. The decision came after just a few hours of deliberation and a six-week trial where more than 70 witnesses testified.
Lead prosecutor Creighton Waters explained to Judge Clifton Newman during sentencing that the evidence in the trial "shows [Murdaugh] to be a cunning manipulator, a man who placed himself above all others, including his family, a man who violated the trust of so many - including his friends, his family, his partners, his profession, but most of all Maggie and Paul."
Waters requested the consecutive life sentences, saying his family, "like everyone else, was unaware of who he really was."
Murdaugh has maintained his innocence and once again proclaimed it during sentencings.
"I'm innocent. I would never hurt my wife, Maggie, and I would never hurt my son, Paul,"
Murdaugh said, according to Avery Wilks, chief investigative reporter for the Post and Courier.
Judge Newman excoriated Murdaugh for his repeated lies, including Murdaugh's insistence that he was never at the dog kennels - where Maggie and Paul were murdered - on the day of the crime. Cell phone evidence proved that was a lie, and Murdaugh admitted to lying while testifying in his own defense during the trial.