Federal agents reportedly removed guns from banker Christopher Latham's Sullivan's Island home Friday, but that didn't stop attorneys for him and his estranged wife from firing verbal potshots at one another.
Attorney Matthew Yelverton said federal officials had informed Nancy Latham, the alleged target of a recent murder-for-hire plot, that Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents had removed an unspecified number of firearms from her husband's house Friday morning. Yelverton is Nancy Latham's attorney.
Federal officials would not confirm the action.
Stephen Schmutz, an attorney for Christopher Latham, disputed the account, saying his client had simply transferred the guns to a friend at the request of the ATF. Christopher Latham consented to a protective order this week, and the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act blocks persons subject to protective orders from possessing firearms or ammunition.
“There was no seizure,” Schmutz said. “This was a transfer of guns to a friend of about 30 years, an old hunting buddy.”
Nancy Latham, a Mount Pleasant real estate agent and treasurer of the S.C. Education Lottery Commission, cited the alleged murder plot in a recent motion seeking a protective order against her husband from the Charleston County Family Court. In the motion and in a civil lawsuit, she has accused him of being involved in a plan to kill her, though he hasn't been charged with a crime.
She and her husband, who filed competing requests for a protective order, reached an agreement this week with measures designed to bar the couple from communicating with or harassing one another. Under the agreement, Christopher Latham consented to his wife's request for an order of protection.
His divorce attorney, Robert Rosen, said at the time that the consent order did not address her request to bar Christopher Latham from keeping his guns, and that she was no longer pushing for the court to remove them from his possession.
“She abandoned that,” he said Wednesday. “She obviously didn't feel she needed that.”
Yelverton said that was inaccurate, a disingenuous statement meant to fool the public into thinking that Nancy Latham no longer fears her husband.
“I think it is irresponsible for lawyers to argue their cases in the press, and if they're going to do that, they better make sure they're right,” he said.
Rosen said he stood by his earlier statements, and insisted that Nancy Latham had withdrawn her request in Family Court for her husband's guns to be removed. He scoffed at Yelverton's comment to the contrary.
“This comes from a lawyer who had a photo-op when he filed a suit against Chris Latham, which, by the way, he's never served on my client,” Rosen said.
Yelverton countered that Nancy Latham had no reason to ask specifically for the guns to be taken because she already knew that would happen under federal law when the protective order was filed.
“(Rosen) knows that, he knows he's wrong and he's just trying to divert attention,” Yelverton said.
Four people have been charged in connection with the alleged plot to kill Nancy Latham, which came to light after one of the defendants revealed the scheme to Charleston police during a traffic stop last month.
Charged in the plot are Louisville, Ky., residents Russell Wilkinson, 39; Samuel Yenawine, 38; and Rachel Palmer, 36, who is Yenawine's girlfriend. Also facing charges is 37-year-old Wendy Annette Moore, who lives in the Charleston area.
She is Yenawine's ex-wife and has been referred to in court documents as Chris Latham's live-in girlfriend and assistant at Bank of America, where he is an executive.
Reach Glenn Smith at 937-5556 or Twitter.com/glennsmith5.
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