UPDATE | Former W.Va. Supreme Court justice Loughry reports to prison

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP/WSAZ/WV MetroNews) -- UPDATE 4/5/19 @ 6:50 p.m.
A former West Virginia Supreme Court justice at the center of an impeachment scandal has reported to federal prison for his two-year sentence.

The Bureau of Prisons says Allen Loughry reported to a South Carolina prison on Friday.

Loughry was sentenced earlier this year after being found guilty on charges including mail and wire fraud connected to his personal use of state cars and fuel cards.

Loughry has repeatedly denied benefiting personally from trips he took when he became a justice in 2013. His lawyer declined to comment when reached by phone Friday.

A federal judge said Loughry showed no remorse.

Loughry and three other justices were impeached last year over questions involving lavish office renovations that evolved into accusations of corruption and neglect of duty.



UPDATE 2/20/19 @ 9:15 p.m.
Former West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Allen Loughry appeared Wednesday in a Wayne County courtroom.

Loughry agreed to be disbarred and agreed to never seek another public office for the rest of his life. Loughry also agreed to pay more than $5,000 to the disciplinary counsel for the cost of the investigation, along with a $3,000 fine.

This hearing was only for his disbarment. The case is separate from the criminal case against Loughry in which he was convicted of illegally spending taxpayer money and lying about it. For that he will spend two years in federal prison.

“I believe it is in the best interest of myself and the judicial branch at this time," Loughry said in court Wednesday.

Loughry is scheduled to report to federal prison in early April.



UPDATE 2/13/19 @ 5:45 p.m.
Former state Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison on federal charges involving his personal use of state property and financial misjudgment of court resources, our crew at the scene reports.

Loughry also was ordered to pay nearly $1,300 in restitution, plus a $1,000 special assessment. Furthermore, he was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine, as well as supervised probation of three years.

The former judge is allowed to self-report to Berkeley Springs, located in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle, by April 5.

According to our crew, U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver enhanced the sentencing level from 10 to 16 months by three levels up to 18 to 24 months and then imposed the 24-month sentence.

Judge Copenhaver said while Loughry is not solely responsible for the mistrust in the judicial system, he's "contributed mightily" to it. He added it was of "great importance" to have a sentence that shows respect for the law and serves as a deterrent for the future but the current guidelines were inadequate for this case.

Loughry and his attorneys did not comment as they left the courtroom. In court, his attorney John Carr pointed to the tremendous impact the case and press coverage had had on Loughry and his family and asked for probation or home confinement.

Prosecutors responded that Loughry stood "at the apex of the justice system" and the damage he did cannot be measured both to the institution and the state. They added it was important to have a sentence that would not breed cynicism from the public.

U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart issued this statement, in part, in a release:

"I said it before and I will say it again, there's no such thing as a little bit of public corruption. It is a cancer that erodes the public's confidence in government and undermines the rule of law. Integrity and honesty need not be exceptions but, rather, should be the standard we expect from our public servants. To quote Mr. Loughry, as stated in his book: 'It is essential that people have the absolute confidence in the integrity and impartiality of our system of justice.' Today, with the sentence of Mr. Loughry, our system of justice took a big step in furthering the people's confidence."

No one testified during Wednesday's sentencing.

Loughry was convicted last October on 11 criminal counts in connection with finances involving the state Supreme Court and Loughry’s personal use of state property. The overall investigation stemmed from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol.

A federal jury found Loughry guilty of 11 of the original 23 counts he faced. Copenhaver acquitted Loughry of one of the counts, a witness tampering charge, in an order that came down after the trial.



UPDATE 2/13/19 @ 11:21 a.m.
Former state Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday afternoon on 10 federal criminal counts following his conviction last fall.

U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver is scheduled to sentence the Tucker County native beginning at 1:30 p.m. in U.S. District Court in Charleston. Copenhaver recently rejected two motions for a new trial. The latest rejection coming last week.

Loughry was convicted last October on 11 criminal counts in connection with finances involving the state Supreme Court and Loughry’s personal use of state property.

The mail fraud counts charged Loughry with improperly seeking travel expense reimbursement for travel to a conference, even though he had used a state vehicle and a state-issued gasoline purchasing card.

The similar wire fraud counts charged Loughry with using a state vehicle and state-issued gasoline purchasing card for personal travel. Most of those trips were for signing events for Loughry’s book on political corruption in West Virginia.

A federal jury found Loughry guilty of 11 of the original 23 counts he faced. Copenhaver acquitted Loughry of one of the counts, a witness tampering charge, in an order that came down after the trial.

U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart said since shortly after taking office that public corruption would not be tolerated. After Loughry’s conviction he said, “public corruption is a cancer that erodes public confidence and undermines the Rule of Law. This is not a sad day for West Virginia but, rather, a hopeful one. The system worked. Corruption was rooted out. Confidence is restored.”

Loughry will be sentenced according to federal sentencing guidelines.

UPDATE 1/14/19 @ 11:02 a.m.
The Judicial Hearing Board in West Virginia has rescheduled the disciplinary hearing for former West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Allen Loughry. This comes just days before his sentencing on nearly a dozen federal charges.

On Monday, the board announced an amended scheduling order, moving the hearing to 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 6 in a Kanawha County courtroom.

Our media partner WV MetroNews reports that the judicial hearing is related to the charges Loughry has faced in federal court, but the hearing falls under the purview of the state Judicial Investigation Commission.

In October, a jury found Loughry guilty of seven wire fraud charges, one mail fraud charge, two charges for lying to federal investigators and one charge for witness tampering. In a ruling Friday, U.S. District Court Judge John Copenhaver overturned the witness tampering conviction. Loughry was found not guilty of 10 other counts, and the jury was hung on one count.

His sentencing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 16.

This investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use, and lying to cover up his wrongdoing.

Loughry resigned from the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals in November, just a day before state lawmakers were expected to meet in a special session to consider removing him from office.

He and three other justices were impeached by the state House of Delegates over questions involving lavish office renovations that evolved into accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty. It is now up to the West Virginia Senate to decide whether or not to officially remove the judge from office.

UPDATE 1/11/19 @ 5:15 p.m.
A federal judge has denied a new trial for former West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Allen Loughry, who was found guilty in October of nearly a dozen federal charges against him.

Loughry's lawyers had filed a motion to vacate the convictions and grant a new trial.

In October, the jury found Loughry guilty of seven wire fraud charges, one mail fraud charge, two charges for lying to federal investigators and one charge for witness tampering.

In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge John Copenhaver overturned the witness tampering conviction.

Loughry was found not guilty of 10 other counts, and the jury was hung on one count.

Copenhaver ruled that it's up to the state to determine if Loughry should be retried on the witness tampering charge. Furthermore, a second motion to reconsider the convictions and a new trial has not been ruled on yet.

Loughry resigned from the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals in November, just a day before state lawmakers were expected to meet in a special session to consider removing him from office.

The investigation against Loughry stemmed from overspending and misuse of funding for the court, including $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's office.



UPDATE 10/12/18 @ 4:20 p.m.
In a historic outcome for a West Virginia courtroom, the jury found suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry guilty of nearly a dozen of the 22 federal charges against him.

Guilty: 11 counts
Not Guilty: 10 counts

The jury was hung on one count. The judge decided to not issue an Allen Charge for that count which would have encouraged the jury to continue deliberating.

The jury found Loughry guilty of seven wire fraud charges, one mail fraud charge, two charges for lying to federal investigators and one charge for witness tampering.

Loughry previously pleaded not guilty to the 22 federal charges against him (prosecutors ultimately dropped three of the charges in the indictment.) The charges include wire fraud and lying to FBI agents.

This investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use, and lying to cover up his wrongdoing.

This was Loughry's criminal trial, and he has 14 days to file for a new trial. He could also be removed from office. Loughry and three other justices were impeached by the state House of Delegates over questions involving lavish office renovations that evolved into accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty. It is now up to the West Virginia Senate to decide whether or not to officially remove the judge from office.

The public information officer for the state Supreme Court tells WSAZ the criminal conviction has no bearing on the justice's seat on the high court. Loughry can only be removed from office if the Senate votes to remove him or he resigns. However, he remains suspended without pay and cannot preside over any cases.

Throughout the trial, the jury, made up of 10 women and two men, heard testimony from Loughry himself and about two dozen witnesses.

“Today is an important day for the people of West Virginia," said U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart. "The jury has rendered judgment on Justice Loughry. The jury has confirmed that a Justice on the state’s highest court – Justice Allen Loughry - is guilty of numerous and serious federal crimes, including witness tampering and lying to a federal agent. As I stated at the outset of this matter, public corruption is a cancer that erodes public confidence and undermines the Rule of Law. This is not a sad day for West Virginia but, rather, a hopeful one. The system worked. Corruption was rooted out. Confidence is restored."

His sentencing on the federal criminal charges is set for 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 16. He was released on the same unsecured bond. The prosecution asked for home confinement, but the judge said Loughry is not a flight risk or a risk to the community.

Loughry's impeachment trial is set for Nov. 12 in the state Senate.

In addition to Loughry, the House voted to impeach Justices Robin Davis, Beth Walker, and Margaret Workman.

The Senate already voted to not remove Walker from office.

Justice Margaret Workman's trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 15.

Justice Robin Davis retired in August -- the same day the House of Delegates voted to impeach.

Justice Menis Ketchum retired/resigned from the high court in July, but pleaded guilty to a federal charge of wire fraud.



UPDATE 10/12/18 @ 2:25 p.m.
Jurors are average, everyday people from various walks of life -- most are not criminal justice experts. That's why the jury handling a historic case against a West Virginia Supreme Court justice took a break from deliberating Friday afternoon to ask a couple questions.

Shortly after 1 p.m. Friday, the jury had two questions for attorneys. We're told the first question was along the lines of: If we have a hung jury on one count, what happens? The second question was a follow up: Does that just affect that charge or the entire case?

For the second question, lawyers instructed the jury that it will only affect the individual charge that they cannot come to an agreement on. The attorneys decided to hold off on answering the first question and sent the jurors back to deliberate.

WSAZ's Jatara McGee is at the federal courthouse awaiting a verdict.

Made up of 10 women and two men, the jury heard testimony from Loughry himself and about two dozen witnesses throughout the trial.

Loughry is facing 22 federal charges (prosecutors dropped three of the charges in the indictment) including wire fraud and lying to FBI agents. The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use, and lying to cover up his wrongdoing.

He previously pleaded not guilty. If convicted, the justice faces hundreds of years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

UPDATE 10/12/18 @ 9:33 a.m.
Jury deliberations resume Friday in the case against suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry.

When jurors reconvene at 9:30 a.m., this will be the third day of deliberations. Closing arguments wrapped up, sending the case to the jurors around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Made up of 10 women and two men, the jury heard testimony from Loughry himself and about two dozen witnesses throughout the trial.

Loughry is facing 22 federal charges (prosecutors dropped three of the charges in the indictment) including wire fraud and lying to FBI agents. The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use, and lying to cover up his wrongdoing.

He previously pleaded not guilty. If convicted, the justice faces hundreds of years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

UPDATE 10/11/18 @ 5:08 p.m.
Another trial day came and went without a verdict in the case against suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry.

The jury will resume deliberations at 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Made up of 10 women and two men, the jury heard testimony from Loughry himself and about two dozen witnesses throughout the trial.

Loughry is facing 22 federal charges (prosecutors dropped three of the charges in the indictment) including wire fraud and lying to FBI agents. The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use, and lying to cover up his wrongdoing.

He previously pleaded not guilty. If convicted, the justice faces hundreds of years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

UPDATE 10/11/18 @ 12:57 p.m.
The jury resumed deliberations Thursday morning in the case against suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry.

WSAZ's Jatara McGee is at the federal courthouse awaiting a verdict.

Made up of 10 women and two men, the jury heard testimony from Loughry himself and about two dozen witnesses throughout the trial.

Loughry is facing 22 federal charges (prosecutors dropped three of the charges in the indictment) including wire fraud and lying to FBI agents. The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use, and lying to cover up his wrongdoing.

He previously pleaded not guilty. If convicted, the justice faces hundreds of years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

UPDATE 10/10/18 @ 5:24 p.m.
Court has adjourned for the day in the case against suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry.

Jury deliberations will continue at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

On Wednesday, the prosecution and defense gave closing arguments. The judge then spent an hour giving the jury instructions before they returned to private chambers to deliberate.

Made up of 10 women and two men, the jury heard testimony from Loughry himself and about two dozen witnesses.

Loughry is facing 22 federal charges (prosecutors dropped three of the charges in the indictment) including wire fraud and lying to FBI agents. The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use, and lying to cover up his wrongdoing.

UPDATE 10/10/18 @ 3:39 p.m.
The jury is now deliberating in a historic trial for the state of West Virginia. They hold the fate of suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry in their hands.

Made up of 10 women and two men, the jury heard testimony from Loughry himself and about two dozen witnesses. On Wednesday, the prosecution and defense gave closing arguments. The judge then spent an hour giving the jury instructions before they returned to private chambers to deliberate.

Loughry is facing 22 federal charges (prosecutors dropped three of the charges in the indictment) including wire fraud and lying to FBI agents. The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use, and lying to cover up his wrongdoing.

This is Loughry's criminal trial. He could also be removed from office. Loughry and three other justices were impeached by the state House of Delegates over questions involving lavish office renovations that evolved into accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty.

It is now up to the West Virginia Senate to decide whether or not to officially remove the judge from office. Loughry's impeachment trial is set for next month in the state Senate.

UPDATE 10/10/18 @ 1:08 p.m.
The fate of suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry is now in the hands of the jurors.

Closing arguments wrapped up just before 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Loughry is currently facing 22 federal charges, mostly fraud charges. The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use, and lying to cover up his wrongdoing.

After closing arguments, the court went into recess for lunch. When they return, the judge will give final instructions and the jury will deliberate.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.

UPDATE 10/10/18 @ 11:50 a.m.
Closing arguments are underway in the trial for suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry.

Wednesday morning, jurors heard from the prosecution representing the United States government in the federal case.

The first statement from the prosecution said Justice Loughry took a position of ‘’significant power’’ when elected as a justice, but with that power also came an "arrogance" and a "sense of entitlement." The prosecution also said that when Loughry’s crimes came to light, he began bullying, creating false narratives, and deflecting attention away from his crimes.

The prosecution painted Loughry as a bully who intimidated people he worked with, later lied to federal investigators, and “when things got hot, he flat out lied.“

The prosecution said Loughry was elected to be a public servant, but wanted to be a master.

‘’The defendant is guilty on every single account and we ask you find him guilty,’’ said Attorney Greg McVey in closing to the jury.

After a short break, the defense will give their closing arguments, followed by a brief response from the prosecution. Then, jury deliberation will begin.

UPDATE 10/10/18 @ 10:31 a.m.
As a historic trial in West Virginia nears its end, the fate of a state Supreme Court justice rests in the jurors' hands.

Closing arguments against suspended Justice Allen Loughry are scheduled for Wednesday morning in U.S. District Court in Charleston. Loughry is currently facing 22 federal charges, mostly fraud charges. The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use, and lying to cover up his wrongdoing.

After closing arguments, the jury of 10 women and two men is set to begin deliberations.

This is Loughry's criminal trial. He could also be removed from office. Loughry and three other justices were impeached by the state House of Delegates over questions involving lavish office renovations that evolved into accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty.

It is now up to the West Virginia Senate to decide whether or not to officially remove the judge from office. Loughry's impeachment trial is set for next month in the state Senate.

UPDATE 10/9/18 @ 4:50 p.m.
A jury is close to deliberating the fate of a suspended West Virginia Supreme Court justice accused of using his office for his own benefit.

The defense rested its case Tuesday after Justice Allen Loughry was questioned for more than six hours over two days about trips he took and the use of state-owned property from which the federal government contends he benefited personally.

Closing arguments are scheduled for Wednesday morning in U.S. District Court in Charleston, after which the jury of 10 women and two men is set to begin deliberations.

Loughry and three other justices were impeached by the state House of Delegates over questions involving lavish office renovations that evolved into accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty. Loughry's impeachment trial is set for next month in the state Senate.



UPDATE 10/9/18 @ 3:30 p.m.
A suspended West Virginia Supreme Court justice has concluded his testimony in his federal criminal trial.

Both the United States and the defense rested Tuesday afternoon. Closing arguments are set for Wednesday morning.

Justice Allen Loughry was grilled by a federal prosecutor for a second day Tuesday over receipts and the use of state-owned property that the government contends was for his own benefit.

Defense attorney John Carr asked Loughry about odometer readings for some state vehicles he drove that were lower than previous readings for the same car driven on the same day.

Loughry declared, "These records are a mess."

Loughry is charged with fraud, false statements and witness tampering.

The defense rested Tuesday.

Loughry and three other justices were impeached over questions involving lavish office renovations that evolved into accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty. Loughry's impeachment trial is set for next month.



UPDATE 10/9/18 @ 2:03 p.m.
Suspended West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Allen Loughry II is taking the stand again Tuesday in his own defense. The justice is facing more than 20 federal charges as well as possible impeachment in a separate investigation.

Loughry is accused of using his public office for personal gain. He previously pleaded not guilty. If convicted, the justice faces hundreds of years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

During cross-examination Tuesday, Loughry disputed some of the evidence presented including gas, travel, and cell phone records.

For example, records show Loughry used a state-owned vehicle on Thanksgiving Day to travel several hundred miles. Prosecutors asked him what official business could have happened on a holiday. Loughry could not provide an answer, but did say Supreme Court justices work 365 days a year.

Loughry claimed he is not an expert in all of this, so to speak, and cannot answer some of the questions asked of him. "That is your representation," he told the prosecutor at one point. The justice often did not give definitive answers to the prosecution's questions.

The suspended justice has spent at least six hours on the stand so far including his testimony Monday.

This federal investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, and using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use.

We expect to hear from Loughry's assistant Tuesday as well as former Administrative Director of Courts Steve Canterbury. Loughry has blamed many of the allegations against him on Canterbury.

After more than 11 years on the job, Canterbury was ousted from the Supreme Court in January of 2017 (when Loughry became chief justice) by the court's vote of 3-2. Shortly after, Canterbury told our media partner WV MetroNews that his firing was political, "pure and simple." Canterbury admitted to MetroNews that his relationship with Loughry started to disintegrate some time before his firing, but he chose not to elaborate on what may have caused the problems.

UPDATE 10/8/18 @ 3:50 p.m.
Suspended West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Allen Loughry II has taken the stand Monday afternoon in his ongoing federal trial.

Loughry has testified nearly an hour and a half. He is accused of using his public office as a judge for personal gain.

The United States rested its case early afternoon. Monday marked Day 5 of the trial and featured three prosecution witnesses that morning.

Before Loughry began testifying, the defense tried to dismiss three more charges: witness tampering and two fraud counts due to lack of evidence cited by the prosecution. The judge, however, dismissed that motion.

Our crew at the scene reports that Loughry's wife and son are in the courtroom Monday afternoon.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 10/8/18 @ 12:25 p.m.
Jurors are back in court Monday on the fifth day of an historic trial, working through the Columbus Day holiday to determine the fate of West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Allen Loughry.

Three new witnesses took the stand Monday morning, called by the United States.

The testimony was so dry at times that it had one juror nodding off. The judge had the jury stand for about 20 minutes to stretch and get their energy flowing.

During the morning session, the prosecution questioned witnesses ranging from the Supreme Court justice’s neighbor to the former U.S. Attorney Carol Casto.

Loughry’s neighbor testified that it was not unusual to see a state vehicle parked in front of Loughry's home, especially during weekends and holiday periods. She also testified that she saw Loughry, his wife and young son load up the state vehicle with luggage during the holidays and leave for several days.

The jury also heard in detail from an FBI special agent about cell phone records, tracking Justice Loughry’s movements, including during times the court would have been in recess and during holiday times.

Jurors have already heard from about 20 witnesses.



UPDATE 10/5/18 @ 9:20 p.m.
Jurors for the federal trial of suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry may spend the weekend considering the testimony of Kimberly Ellis, a court employee who described feeling threatened by Loughry.

The jury of 10 women and two men focused on Ellis as she testified over much of Friday afternoon, with several appearing to take notes about what she was saying.

In addition to Ellis’s testimony, jurors heard a clip of a meeting Ellis recorded when she was summoned to a room with Loughry, then court-administrator Gary Johnson, two court attorneys and the court’s senior financial officer.

One of the 22 federal counts Loughry faces is a witness tampering charge that appears to refer to Ellis.

Ellis is currently the director of administrative services for the court. Her relationship with the court began when she was an interior designer for the Silling Associates architecture firm, which worked on a Supreme Court remodeling project.

Her testimony indicated she first felt threatened Jan. 4, 2017, when her cell phone rang at 8 p.m. as she attended her son’s soccer game. It was Loughry calling. Ellis said he asked to keep the call off the record.

Ellis testified that Loughry told her, “It’s my understanding that you’re loyal to Steve Canterbury and you’re a spy. But you have nothing to worry about. We like you.”

Ellis said she described herself as a loyal court employee. Next, she testified, Loughry instructed her to go to work early the next morning to scrape Canterbury’s name off of his office door.

Ellis said she suggested contacting another court employee whose duties better corresponded to such a task.

Ellis testified that Loughry said no. “He wanted me to scrape his name off the door.”
“Did you?” asked federal prosecutor Philip Wright.

“I did,” Ellis responded.

Ellis next felt like her job was in question on Oct. 19, 2017, shortly after WCHS-TV reporter Kennie Bass had requested information about justices’ office renovations.

Ellis was summoned to a meeting. Testifying that several other court employees, including Canterbury, had been fired over the prior months, Ellis turned the voice notes recorder on her phone as she entered the room and held it on her lap.

During the meeting, Loughry asked if she recalled a meeting where she had written on paper the cost for the office renovations for Justice Menis Ketchum and Justice Margaret Workman.

“I was very specific over and over, that level we spent on anything, I didn’t want mine to be more than Menis’s or Margaret’s,” Loughry can be heard saying on the recording. “Do you remember those conversations?”

“I don’t,” Ellis responded on the recording.

Prosecutor Wright followed up by asking, “Did you have a conversation with Justice Loughry about his office being equal or less than the cost of justice Ketchum’s or Workman’s?

“No, I did not,” Ellis said.

She added of such conversations, “They never happened.”

The witness tampering charge against Loughry alleges he “attempted to coach a Supreme Court employee by planting false facts about purported prior conversations between the employee and defendant Loughry that concerned the renovation costs of defendant Loughry’s office — conversations that did not, in fact, occur — and did so with the intent to dishonestly influence and prevent future truthful testimony by the employee before the federal grand jury.”



UPDATE 10/5/18 @ 4:20 p.m.
Testimony continues in the trial of a suspended West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals justice accused of using his public office for personal gain.

Late Friday afternoon, Kim Ellis, director of Administrative Services, was set to testify. She's the witness who the prosecution argues Justice Loughry tried to witness tamper.

The prosecution was about to play audio recording she secretly recorded of the meeting.

Earlier Friday afternoon, judges heard from Arthur Angus and Jennifer Bundy.

Angus testified about the move of the vintage Cass Gilbert desk and green leather couch from Loughry’s home, as well as state vehicle reservations for justices, sets of keys to vehicles -- all key issues in the prosecution's case again Loughry.

Bundy testified about media inquiries and responses at the direction of Loughry.

We have a crew at the scene. Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 10/5/18 @ 11:07 a.m.
The federal criminal trial against suspended Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry resumed at 11 a.m. Friday.

The delay was due to an unexpected health issue with a juror who needed a later start time.

Cameras are not allowed inside the federal courthouse, but WSAZ's Jatara McGee is inside reporting on day four of the trial.

We expect to hear more Friday from former Supreme Court Justice Brent Benjamin. He took the stand Thursday, the second former justice to do so following Thomas McHugh’s testimony Wednesday.



UPDATE 10/4/18 @ 6:10 p.m.
Another day of testimony in a Supreme Court Justice’s federal trial has come to a close.

A jury hearing the case against suspended Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry will continue hearing from witnesses Friday morning.

On the third day of the trial, former Supreme Court Justice Brent Benjamin took the stand, the second former justice to do so following Thomas McHugh’s testimony Wednesday.

Benjamin will continue testifying Friday.

He has already been questioned about his knowledge of Loughry’s Cass Gilbert desk, alleged to have been moved to his home office improperly, and the justices’ use of state vehicles during his time on the court.

Former Justice Benjamin, who now works in private practice in Charleston, says Loughry had a Cass Gilbert desk when Loughry was serving as a law clerk, years before he was elected to the Supreme Court.

Benjamin testified that he acknowledged the desk to which Loughry replied ‘’Yes, I’m very fortunate to have this’’ and ‘’it’s very historical.’’

Benjamin is also providing jurors with perspective about the justices’ state vehicle use and conversations leading up to scrutiny about their use of the vehicles.

Before Benjamin took the stand, jurors heard from six other witnesses.

Sue Racer-Troy, the chief financial officer for the West Virginia Supreme Court Gave a detailed, lengthy testimony regarding financial documents and statements connected to Loughry’s state vehicle use. The defense argued that some of the information is unreliable and may be inaccurate.

A bookkeeper from Tucker County also took the stand Thursday. Melinda Pennington works for McClain Printing, the company that published Justice Loughry’s book ‘’Don’t Buy Another Vote, I Won’t Pay For A Landslide.’’ She testified briefly, explaining the contract between the printing company and Justice Loughry.

Michelle Wylie, who works as a retail buyer and manager of The Greenbrier Shop at the Greenbrier, testified about a book signing event Justice Loughry participated in March 2015. The government alleges that Loughry used a state vehicle and gas card for that trip.

Vicky Shaffer, who is now retired but served as Justice Loughry’s assistant, testified very briefly Thursday, confirming calendars that the prosecution will likely tie back into their argument later.

The jury heard from Paul Fletch-Adkins Thursday afternoon, who also testified during impeachment proceedings in the West Virginia House of Delegates several weeks ago. Fletch-Adkins is now retired and previously served as an employee for the West Virginia Supreme Court Administrative Services.

Fletch-Adkins testified that he was responsible for a range of duties, including arranging furniture movement around the Capitol complex.

He said he had no knowledge of any furniture being in Justice Loughry’s home, including a Cass Gilbert desk and leather couch.

Jess Gundy, the deputy director for the West Virginia Supreme Court, spent the most time on the stand Thursday afternoon. He discussed the process of requesting a state vehicle as a supreme court justice and the reservation systems in place.

Gundy also testified during the proceedings at the West Virginia House of Delegates. Thursday, in federal court he answered questions about moving a Cass Gilbert desk and leather couch out of Justice Loughry’s home.

Gundy says Loughry called him into his office and close the door. A handful of others were present when Gundy says Loughry asked him for help moving a couch and desk out of his home and told him he wanted to do it ‘’discreetly.’’

Gundy says Loughry told him he was not doing anything improper, because the justices were allowed to have a home office. He explained that Loughry, himself, Paul Mendez, and Arthur Angus, who are both on the witness list, all helped move the items a couple days later.

That offense urge the jury that Justice Loughry’s desire to keep some of his actions secretive was only due to “tremendous tension” between the five justices, specifically Justices Loughry and Davis, ‘’intense infighting on the court’’ and ‘’intense media scrutiny’’ at the time.

Gundy also testified that Loughry is the only Justice he has worked with who has refused to give a destination when asked, after reserving a state vehicle.



UPDATE 10/4/18 @ 4:05 p.m.
The state Supreme Court’s top financial officer testified for several hours Thursday at the federal trial of Justice Allen Loughry about how the court keeps track of mileage and gas purchases.

Federal prosecutors are trying to prove not only that Loughry used a state vehicle for his personal travel but that he received reimbursement from out-of-state conferences while actually traveling in a state vehicle and using a state purchasing card for the gas.

Loughry’s attorney, John Carr, tried during cross examination to question whether what might seem like basic records of gasoline purchases might be subject to human error or inconsistencies.

Carr asked about odometer readings that might jump up or down, about whether purchasing cards might be moved from state vehicle to state vehicle without an immediate note in the record keeping, and about how any one would know exactly who made a gasoline purchase.

“There’s no way to tell exactly who swiped the card?” Carr asked.

“That’s correct,” responded. Sue Racer-Troy, the court’s financial officer.

A couple of hours of Racer-Troy’s morning testimony was dedicated to reading off, line-by-line, records of where gasoline was purchased, the amount paid and the date and time.

As testimony resumed today after a mid-morning break, U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver jokingly commented on the tedium: “I was really encouraged that you reached page 270.”

Federal prosecutors were up front with the jury during opening statements that some of the evidence they intend to present is dry.

But the prosecutors said the puzzle pieces will fit together over the course of the trial.

Loughry faces 22 federal charges.

Counts 1, 2 and 3 are false and fraudulent mileage claims. Counts 4 through 18 are counts of wire fraud over personal use of Supreme Court vehicles and government fuel cards. Yet another count alleges a false statement about using a Supreme Court vehicle.



UPDATE 10/3/18 @ 1:32 p.m.
In a historic criminal trial, suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry II is now facing fewer charges.

Three charges were dropped Wednesday. Loughry now faces only 22 federal charges instead of 25.

The charges that were dropped include mail fraud, obstruction of justice, and making a false statement.

Loughry is accused of using his public office for personal gain. He previously pleaded not guilty. If convicted, the justice faces hundreds of years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, and using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use.

Opening arguments wrapped up Wednesday after the jury heard from both the prosecution and the defense for about 30 minutes each.

Prosecutors warned the jury that some of the evidence in the case is dry, speaking about documents and records. Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip Wright said all of the evidence will piece together a puzzle -- a picture of Loughry's fraud.

Defense Attorney John Carr said the federal government does not have any solid evidence and cannot prove Loughry's intent. He also said the justice does not believe he committed any crimes, blaming politics for being a dirty business.

"Not everything is as it first appears," Carr reiterated several times.

Carr told the jury the case is not about political scores, hearsay, or "fake news." He said the government is alleging federal, felony charges that are very serious. Carr also told members of the jury that they need to question the witnesses' motives and credibility.

The jury is made up of 10 women, two men and three alternates. More than 50 potential jurors were questioned throughout the day on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, jurors heard from seven witnesses, ranging from former Supreme Court Justice Thomas McHugh to an FBI agent to two employees at American University in Washington, D.C. All the witnesses testified about evidence connected to allegations of fraud and giving false statements.

Jurors will begin their day Thursday the same way they ended Wednesday, hearing from witness Sue Racer-Troy, the Chief Financial Officer for the West Virginia Supreme Court.

Jurors left the courthouse just before 5:30 p.m. and are due back at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.



UPDATE 10/2/18 @ 6:15 p.m.
A jury has been selected in the federal criminal case against suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry II.

It will be made up of 10 women, two men and three alternates.

More than 50 potential jurors were questioned throughout the day on Tuesday.

Loughry is accused of using his public office as judge for personal gain. He previously pleaded not guilty to the other 25 counts he faces. If convicted, the justice now faces a sentence of up to 405 years in prison, a fine of $5.75 million, and a term of supervised release of up to three years.

The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, and using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use.

The trial is set to begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday.



UPDATE 10/2/18 @ 2:18 p.m.
Jury selection is underway in the federal criminal case against suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry II.

During the first half of the day Tuesday, the attorneys questioned about 30 potential jurors. They are expecting another 30 or so in the afternoon. The plan is to have a more extensive questionnaire for jurors than what would normally be presented -- due to the publicity of the trial.

Loughry is accused of using his public office as judge for personal gain. He previously pleaded not guilty to the other 25 counts he faces. If convicted, the justice now faces a sentence of up to 405 years in prison, a fine of $5.75 million, and a term of supervised release of up to three years.

The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, and using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use.

In addition to jury selection Tuesday, we also learned about potential witnesses who may be called to testify. Former state Supreme Court justices could be called to testify as well as former and current Court employees, federal agents, and others related to the case. For example, Loughry is accused of moving state-owned furniture, including a Cass Gilbert desk valued at $42,500, to his home -- therefore, employees at the moving company may be asked to take the stand.

We're told they hope to have jury selection finished Tuesday. The trial is expected to last for up to two weeks.

Loughry was at the courthouse for the beginning of his trial. He walked in just before 9:30 a.m. with his lawyer. Attorney John Carr said, "No comment."

UPDATE 9/17/18 @ 9:25 p.m.
The federal criminal case against suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry II is moving forward.

Pretrial motions were heard Monday.

The plan is to have a more extensive questionnaire for jurors than what would normally be presented -- due to the publicity of the trial.

And while most trials have roughly 30 people, including jurors and alternates, it was suggested to have double that.

Loughry's trial is set for Oct. 2 in Charleston. He is accused of using his public office as judge for personal gain.



UPDATE 8/23/18 @ 11:28 a.m.
Suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen H. Loughry II pleaded not guilty in federal court Thursday.

Loughry was in court to be arraigned on a superseding indictment that increased the charges against him to 25. Also, 14 previous charges of mail fraud were changed to wire fraud charges.

His attorney said "no comment" to our cameras as Loughry walked into the federal court building in Charleston.

The additional charges in the superseding indictment are related to personal use of a state-owned vehicle and gas card.

Loughry previously pleaded not guilty to the other 23 counts he faces.

We have a crew at the courthouse.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 8/14/18 @ 2:55 p.m.
A suspended West Virginia Supreme Court justice now faces two additional charges after a grand jury returned a second superseding indictment against him.

Justice Allen Loughry faces two new counts of fraud. That brings the total number of charges against him to 25. Also, 14 previous charges of mail fraud were changed to wire fraud charges.

According to the indictment filed Tuesday, Loughry faces two new counts related to personal use of a state-owned vehicle and gas card.

Loughry previously pleaded not guilty to the other 23 counts he faces.

There's no word on when he will face a judge on the additional counts.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 7/25/18 @ 10:25 p.m.
A suspended West Virginia Supreme Court justice has pleaded not guilty to a new indictment in federal court.

The State Journal reports Allen Loughry appeared in court Wednesday in Charleston. Loughry is free on bond.

A June indictment charged Loughry with 16 counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, three counts of lying to federal law enforcement and one count of witness tampering. Last week, the grand jury issued a new indictment adding an obstruction of justice charge. Loughry's trial was set for Oct. 2.

Loughry is accused of making personal use of a state vehicle and credit card and trying to influence an employee's testimony and the federal investigation.

A legislative committee is considering whether to recommend impeachment proceedings against Loughry. He was suspended last month.



UPDATE 7/17/18 @ 5 p.m.
West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen H. Loughry II is facing an additional charge.

The federal grand jury that indicted Loughry in June returned a superseding indictment Tuesday. (It replaces the old indictment.)

In addition to the original 22 counts, Loughry is also now charged with obstruction of justice. The original indictment included charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, witness tampering, and making false statements to a federal agent.

If convicted, the justice now faces a sentence of up to 405 years in prison, a fine of $5.75 million, and a term of supervised release of up to three years.

The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol.

U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart's office announced the 23-count indictment Tuesday.

The indictment states that the obstruction of justice happened between Dec. 4, 2017 and May 24, 2018. "Loughry knowingly and corruptly endeavored to influence, obstruct, and impede the due administration of justice—a pending federal grand jury investigation the existence of which Loughry was well aware, according to the superseding indictment," the press release from Stuart's office states.

Loughry allegedly deflected attention away from his own misconduct and blamed others for improperly using court funds and property. The press release states Loughry created a "false narrative" about a Cass Gilbert desk that was allegedly moved to his home. The indictment states Loughry lied about when the desk was moved and who directed it to be moved.

He is also accused of using invoices that were not related to the transfer of the desk, or a leather couch, "to buttress the false narrative he created."

Finally, the new indictment states that Loughry repeated that "false narrative" to an FBI Special Agent in an interview on March 2, 2018.

“Today, a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment against West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Allen Loughry,” Attorney Stuart said. “The new indictment adds another very serious charge -- obstruction of justice -- which, in addition to the charges included in the original indictment, expose Loughry to a possible sentence of 405 years in prison. It’s very disappointing that a former Chief Justice of the highest court in the State of West Virginia would engage in such egregious conduct. Obstruction of justice is one of the most serious of offenses and for that conduct to be conducted by a Supreme Court Justice is, frankly, just plain stupefying.”

At the state level, the West Virginia Judicial Commission filed 32 formal charges against Loughry in early June before the federal indictment. According to an order entered by the Supreme Court, Justice Loughry is suspended without pay and cannot hear any civil or criminal matter or perform any other judicial functions as his disciplinary proceedings play out.

UPDATE 6/22/18 @ 4:30 p.m.
West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry appeared Friday in federal court in Charleston for arraignment. He pleaded not guilty to the 22 counts he was indicted on.

The case heads to trial Aug. 28 in Charleston.

Loughry, who has yet to resign, appeared stoic and emotionless in court Friday.

The prosecuting attorney did not object to Loughry's bond stipulations, so he will remain out on a $10,000 unsecured bond. The conditions of his release are unclear.

Loughry faces charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, witness tampering and making false statements to a federal agent.

If convicted, he faces 395 years in prison.



UPDATE 6/20/18 @ 4:52 p.m.
Lawmakers and state leaders are reacting Wednesday to the news of the indictment against West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen H. Loughry II.

Loughry is facing 22 federal charges. The indictment includes mail fraud, wire fraud, witness tampering, and making false statements to a federal agent.

If convicted, he faces a possible sentence of up to 395 years in prison and up to $5.5 million in fines.

Loughry was previously suspended from the bench without pay after being accused of violating the Code of Judicial Conduct. The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to his Supreme Court office at the State Capitol.

Governor Jim Justice reacted to the news. The governor previously asked Loughry to resign if the allegations are true. Justice says he stands by that statement.

“The news from United States Attorney Mike Stuart this morning regarding Justice Loughry is very troubling," West Virginia Senate President Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson) said. "As citizens review the facts and case against Justice Loughry we must all remember that, until proven guilty, the American system of justice presumes the innocence of those accused of crimes. There is an established system in place to adjudicate and fairly resolve this matter. Nevertheless, the confidence and workmanship in the judicial branch of government must be held to the highest standards of propriety and respect. Therefore, Justice Loughry should immediately resign his position as Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. The opportunity to defend himself against these serious allegations should not be conducted from his current role as Justice. Furthermore, the Court must work diligently to rebuild the public’s trust that citizens deserve from the highest court in our state. May we all pray for a fair, judicious, prompt resolution to this unfortunate event.”

"I'm saddened and disappointed to read these very serious allegations of corruption by a member of our state's highest court contained in today’s indictment," House Speaker Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha) said. "I am deeply troubled by these allegations and believe my fellow West Virginians are as well. Under the legal process in our nation and state, Justice Loughry will be afforded due process as the case against him is prosecuted. While he has been suspended from sitting on the court and is not receiving pay, I would reiterate my belief that it is in our state's best interest for Justice Loughry to resign so we can begin the long process of restoring our citizens' trust in their judicial system. Regardless of what course Justice Loughry may choose to take, the Legislature will continue its work to get to the bottom of what has occurred, to evaluate the evidence and assess how best to proceed to ensure that our judges and all public officials are held to the highest legal and ethical standards."

“Today’s charges against Justice Loughry are very troubling," said Melody Potter, Chairwoman of the WVGOP. "If proven true, the allegations against him are unacceptable misconduct and abuse by an elected official of any political party. As our U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart said, Justice Loughry maintains a presumption of innocence until otherwise found guilty by our legal system. The Constitution of West Virginia provides our Legislature, the elected voice of the people, the authority to address elected officials who engage in misconduct, misappropriation of public funds, or inappropriate activity. I urge our elected leaders in the Legislature to appropriately evaluate these developments and determine what actions, if any, are warranted. As the people’s elected leaders, this is their obligation to our Constitution and to the people of our great state."

"The West Virginia Association for Justice is very disappointed and concerned about the alleged criminal conduct of Justice Loughry. While he is presumed innocent until proven guilty, obstruction of justice, witness tampering and lying to federal agents are serious corruption charges," said Stephen P. New, president of the West Virginia Association for Justice. "No individual is above the law. Those in public office, especially our judges, should be held to the highest standards of ethics and professional conduct. West Virginia voters put their confidence in Justice Loughry when they elected him to our state’s highest court. If these allegations are found to be true, it’s not just his criminal conduct that’s troubling. It is his total disrespect and disregard for the people who elected him. Restoring full public confidence in West Virginia’s highest court and its justices must be a priority. The West Virginia Supreme Court must resume its critical role and serious work with no further distractions. WVAJ believes that Justice Loughry should resign immediately. In addition, federal officers should continue their thorough investigation to ensure that there are no further issues.”

The indictment is attached to this web story.

UPDATE 6/20/18 @ 10:15 a.m.
West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen H. Loughry II has been indicted on 22 counts.

U.S. Attorney Michael Stuart from the Southern District of West Virginia announced the federal charges in a news conference Wednesday.

Stuart says, at approximately 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, the FBI arrested Loughry. However, Stuart says they do not expect the justice to be detained pending trial.

He is charged with 16 counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, one count of witness tampering, and three counts of making false statements to a federal agent.

If convicted, he faces a possible sentence of up to 395 years in prison and up to $5.5 million in fines.

Stuart said "no comment" when asked if any other members of the West Virginia Supreme Court would face charges.

Loughry was previously suspended from the bench without pay after being accused of violating the Code of Judicial Conduct. The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the W.Va. State Capitol.

UPDATE 6/8/18 @ 11 p.m.
The Senate and House Democratic Caucuses have released statements on the West Virginia Supreme Court justice who is facing serious accusations of wrongdoing.

According to an order entered by the Supreme Court of Appeals Friday, Justice Allen H. Loughry II is suspended without pay and cannot hear any civil or criminal matter or perform any other judicial functions as his disciplinary proceedings play out.

The Judicial Disciplinary Counsel is also requesting that the Court suspend Loughry's license to practice law in West Virginia, according to court documents. In the order entered Friday, the decision about his license "is deferred at this time."

The order states that Loughry has the right to request a hearing about his suspension. A request for a hearing must be submitted in writing and filed with the Clerk of Court within 30 days of the order that was entered June 8.

Loughry is accused of violating the Code of Judicial Conduct.

The 32 formal charges were filed at the Supreme Court on Wednesday after the commission “determined that probable cause does exist to formally charge Justice Loughry with violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct.” A second motion was filed to suspend Loughry without pay, according to court records.

The charges stem from $363,000 worth of renovations to his Supreme Court office at the W.Va. State Capitol.

Senate and House Democratic Caucuses released a statement urging legislative action in response to Justice Loughry’s corruption scandal.

"On behalf of the Senate and House Democratic Caucuses, Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso (D-Marion) and House of Delegates Minority Leader Tim Miley (D-Harrison) sent the attached letter to Governor Jim Justice, Senate President Mitch Carmichael and House Speaker Tim Armstead today to urge the leaders to demand the immediate resignation and/or impeachment of Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry. "

Senate President Mich Carmichael says, “In light of both reports from the Legislative Auditor’s Post Audit Division and the statement of charges from the Judicial Investigation Commission, it is time for Justice Loughry to do the right and honorable thing and resign. Our citizens must have faith in their judicial system, and this situation is untenable. To repair the public’s trust, there must be a fundamental change and that starts with Justice Loughry stepping down and allowing the Court to move forward without him.”

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican, released this statement:

"While all of us are innocent until proven guilty, the allegations against Supreme Court Justice Loughry are extremely troubling. At the very least, this has cast a very negative shadow on the state of West Virginia.

"Obviously, the Supreme Court understood the seriousness of this situation and suspended him without pay.

"If the charges are accurate, I would urge Justice Loughry to resign and spare the court and state any further embarrassment.

"As the impeachment process is the domain of the Legislature, I will continue to have a dialog with the leadership to determine the desire to initiate impeachment proceedings. In the event of sufficient interest, I would be open to calling a special session."



UPDATE 6/8/18 @ 11:55 a.m.
A West Virginia Supreme Court justice who is facing serious accusations of wrongdoing and 32 charges has been officially suspended from the bench.

According to an order entered by the Supreme Court of Appeals Friday, Justice Allen H. Loughry II is suspended without pay and cannot hear any civil or criminal matter or perform any other judicial functions as his disciplinary proceedings play out.

The Judicial Disciplinary Counsel is also requesting that the Court suspend Loughry's license to practice law in West Virginia, according to court documents. In the order entered Friday, the decision about his license "is deferred at this time."

The order states that Loughry has the right to request a hearing about his suspension. A request for a hearing must be submitted in writing and filed with the Clerk of Court within 30 days of the order that was entered June 8.

Loughry is accused of violating the Code of Judicial Conduct.

The 32 formal charges were filed at the Supreme Court on Wednesday after the commission “determined that probable cause does exist to formally charge Justice Loughry with violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct.” A second motion was filed to suspend Loughry without pay, according to court records.

The charges stem from $363,000 worth of renovations to his Supreme Court office at the W.Va. State Capitol.

UPDATE 6/7/18 @ 1:50 p.m.
Acting Chief Justice Joanna Tabit has appointed four justices to hear the case involving W.Va. Supreme Court Justice Allen H. Loughry II.

This comes after West Virginia Judicial Commission filed 32 formal charges against Justice Allen H. Loughry II on Wednesday.

The 32 charges were filed at the Supreme Court after the commission “determined that probable cause does exist to formally charge Justice Loughry with violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct.” A second motion was filed to suspend Loughry without pay, according to court records.

According to the filing, the commission found there is probable cause to “believe Justice Loughry engaged in a pattern and practice of lying and using his public office for private gain…” The statement of charges goes on to say Loughry “engaged in a pattern and practice of improperly using Court employees to pursue agendas of personal gain and the cover-up thereof as set forth in multiple charges…”

According to an administrative order, Honorable Robert A Burnside, Jr., Honorable James J. Rowe, Honorable Russell M. Clawges Jr., and Honorable Jennifer P. Dent will all now hear the case.

Honorable Joanna Tabit was appointed acting chief when Chief Justice Margaret Workman, Justice Robin Jean Davis, Justice Menis Ketchum, Justice Allen Loughry II and Justice Elizabeth D. Walker all voluntarily recused themselves from participating in the case.



ORIGINAL STORY 6/6/18
The West Virginia Judicial Commission has filed 32 formal charges against W.Va. Supreme Court Justice Allen H. Loughry II.

The 32 charges were filed at the Supreme Court on Wednesday after the commission “determined that probable cause does exist to formally charge Justice Loughry with violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct.” A second motion was filed to suspend Loughry without pay, according to court records.

According to the filing, the commission found there is probable cause to “believe Justice Loughry engaged in a pattern and practice of lying and using his public office for private gain…” The statement of charges goes on to say Loughry “engaged in a pattern and practice of improperly using Court employees to pursue agendas of personal gain and the cover-up thereof as set forth in multiple charges…”

The charges stem from $363,000 worth of renovations to his Supreme Court office at the W.Va. State Capitol. The renovations included a $32,000 couch, $1,700 throw pillows and $7,500 for a custom-made wooden medallion of the State of West Virginia built into the floor with each county cut from a different colored piece of wood and his home county of Tucker is in blue granite.

The charges state “a multitude of State Supreme Court records demonstrate that he was heavily involved in the design and renovation of his office.” However, the commission says Loughry lied several times about his level of involvement and knowledge of the design and renovation of his office.

The charges also accuse Loughry of moving a used Court-owned Cass Gilbert executive desk from his law clerk office to his home in Charleston. According to the filing, the move clearly violated West Virginia code. The commission states in the filing that the desk was at his home office from December 2012 to November 2017 until it was moved from his house to the Court warehouse.

According to the filing, the “Respondent and three court employees surreptitiously moved the desk from his house to the Court warehouse. The plan called for Respondent’s wife to call him at work after the neighbors across the street left their house so no one would see the desk being moved out of his house. Once he received the call, Respondent rounded up the Court employees – all of whom were already at work. The four then went to his house and moved the desk into the Court van. They then took the item directly to the warehouse and unloaded it there before returning to work.”

The filing also alleges evidence shows Loughry used a state vehicle for improper use. The incidents stated in the filing date from Aug. 23, 2013 to Dec. 24, 2016.

According to the document, Justice Loughry signed a state-owned car out for a combined total of 212 days. One hundred forty-eight of those occasions listed no destination. Through court calendars, Loughry's personal calendar, and other vehicle-related logging systems the Judicial Disciplinary Counsel was able to determine the vehicle was used for personal business. Those trips include: over the 2013 Thanksgiving holiday when no valid business destination could be determined from the reservation system, "book signings" at the Greenbrier on multiple locations, his personal calendar listed 12/22 WVU v. Perdue 1 p.m., appointments for his mother, a court hearing in Tucker County for his father, and more.

In the summer of 2016. Justice Robin Davis started gathering information about the general usage of the cars available to the Supreme Court members. During her request for information the person she asked responded that if someone failed to list a destination for the vehicle they were using they would generally just ask the person. He stated that the only person "we can recall that failed to provide a destination when asked was Justice Loughry."

According to the Commission's report in response to Justice Davis' concerns, the respondent attempted to exempt justices from providing information on a fleet request form. The proposed policy was eventually tabled and Loughry stopped using fleet reservations altogether in or around mid-September 2016.

The document also alleges that in addition to the desktop computer and tablet in Loughry's office, the Justice had two desktop computers, a laptop and a printer installed at his home.

According to the paperwork, a Supreme Court network engineer set-up local computer accounts for the Loughry's wife and son on at least one of the computers. The document reveals that the belief was that one of the desktop computers, off the kitchen area, was used for personal reasons specifically for the storage of family photographs and to play games.

"A network engineer also went to the Respondent's house on several occasions to service the computer," the document states. Testimony quoted in the paperwork says that there were more than 10 games on the computer, mostly free, but the main game on the computer was Minecraft.

According to the paperwork the other justices have just one Supreme Court desktop computer at their home and/or used a laptop or tablet which they carried to and from work. Additionally, none of the other justices had family member accounts on their work computers.

According to the findings, JIC states that Loughry violated the code of conduct while he was Chief Justice in December 2017, when a federal subpoena was served on the State Supreme Court and he “never informed the other Justices of the subpoena, even though it may have sought items specific to one of more of the members of the Court.”

The finding also states “the Court received another federal subpoena in February 2018. Once again, Respondent knew of the subpoena. On February 16, 2018 the other justices were made aware of the second federal subpoena.” During a conversation, the other justices learned of the previous subpoena.

“Because of this important development the other justices lost trust in Respondent as Chief Justice and removed him from office later that day by a vote of four to one. The sole vote for retention came from Respondent,” according to the filing.

In February 2018, West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Margaret L. Workman was named Chief Justice to replace Justice Allen Loughry.

At the time, Workman released the following statement:
“It's time to begin what will be a very long process of restoring public respect for the Supreme Court.”

WSAZ reached out to Loughry’s attorney for a statement Wednesday night. John Carr responded via text saying “We have no comment.”

WSAZ also reached out to the other Supreme Court Justices for comment. At the time of publication none had responded. If any do we will post it here.

However, an administrative order was filed Wednesday afternoon by the Supreme Court of Appeals of W.Va.

Chief Justice Margaret Workman, Justice Robin Jean Davis, Justice Menis Ketchum, Justice Allen Loughry II and Justice Elizabeth D. Walker have all voluntarily recused themselves from participating in the case.

Chief Justice Workman has appointed the Honorable Joanna Tabit to be the Chief Justice on this case. She will now appoint four other acting justices to preside with her on this case.

According to the filing, Loughry has the right to file responsive pleadings to the charges made against him within 30 days.

Wednesday night, a spokesperson for the West Virginia House of Delegates released the following statement:

"The allegations contained in the Judicial Investigation Commission's complaint, particularly those concerning the assertion that a public official may have failed to testify truthfully under oath to the Legislature, raise very serious concerns."

Spokesman Jared Hunt went on to say, "The public must have confidence in the integrity of the state's judicial system. The Legislature will continue to review these charges, as the Supreme Court of Appeals moves forward with its consideration of the complaint, and the Legislature will determine what steps it might take to restore confidence in our court system."

Loughry took office in January 2013. His term is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2024.




 
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