Defense calls first witnesses in murder-for-hire trial

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Attorneys for Chris Latham began callingtheir first witnesses Friday afternoon as attorneys for Wendy Moore startedfinalizing their list of witnesses to be heard first thing Monday morning.

Friday afternoon's testimony started with a paralegal whoworked on Mr. Latham's divorce proceedings.

Dolly Whitman told the court that she most often interactedwith Moore, Mr. Latham's girlfriend and secretary. Moore routinely served asthe go-between between the law office and Mr. Latham during the discoveryprocess.

Moore provided more than 100 emails and other informationabout the divorce, but everything had Mr. Latham's approval before it went out,she said.

Natalie Bluestein, the firm's founding partner, also workedon the divorce case for Mr. Latham, and said the warring couple were working onironing out the details of alimony and visitation rights; they had alreadyreached an agreement on custody of their daughters.

At Bluestein and Douglas, Mr. Latham spent nearly $9,000 onlegal fees before hiring a different law firm where he spent about $600,000 onthe divorce.

Jurors also heard from the accountant at the Hay Tire storeon Savannah Highway in West Ashley, who said Mr. Latham dropped off a goldToyota Corolla to have maintenance work done, and was met there by anotherwitness, Mark Green.

The accountant said Mr. Latham and Green returned to thestore in the afternoon, and Mr. Latham paid for the repairs with a Visa card.

Friday was the first day the court had heard about a goldToyota and ownership was not established. It's known, however, that Mr. Lathamdrives a Lexus and Moore drives a white Dodge Durango.

Green told the court he did not know who owned the car.

During Green's testimony, attorneys also went through swipecard records at Bank of America, where the two men worked, and showed that onthe day of the repairs, Mr. Latham showed up several minutes after Green eventhough the two men arrived together.

Green said Mr. Latham was on the phone the entire time theywere in the car together.

Then attorneys turned to Mr. Latham's actions and whether arelationship with Moore would have definitely cost him his job. The resoundinganswer was, if he had been open about it in the beginning, no.

A Human Resources manager for Bank of America's Southeasternregion said Mr. Latham always denied the relationship. When Moore was arrested,she approached Mr. Latham once again and asked if he was involved with her, butthe told him not to answer because she would have to report it.

The woman also said she had one strange interaction withMoore.

According to her, Moore told her that she had put Mrs.Latham's phone number of a sex encounter website. When the human resourcesmanager took the information to Mr. Latham, she said he was dismissive of it.

She said Moore also called her once at 2 a.m., but she didnot answer the call so she did not know what it was about.

To finish the day, the court heard from another investmentbanker who said Mr. Latham never carried a wallet or cash when he went out. Hesaid Mr. Latham was highly regarded in the corporation.

If Mr. Latham had been honest about the relationship withMoore, he would not have been fired, the court heard again before recessing forthe weekend.

Court resumes Monday morning with witnesses from Moore'sattorneys. Mr. Latham's attorneys will likely continue calling witnesses Mondayafternoon.{}