Justice Loughry indicted on 22 counts, U.S. Attorney Stuart announces
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — On West Virginia Day, federal investigators announced the indictment of the man who wrote the book on political corruption in the Mountain State.
Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry was indicted on 22 counts, U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart announced this morning. Stuart said that if Loughry were convicted on each of the counts, the sentence would amount to almost 400 years.
Loughry was picked up by federal officials at 7:30 a.m. today at his home. He had a short arraignment hearing at the federal courthouse and was released $10,000 bond.
He was charged by a federal grand jury. The 22-count indictment was unsealed today. The charges include fraud, false statement and witness tampering offenses.
Stuart, several times, noted that it’s West Virginia Day. He also talked about the responsibility of the judicial system to be fair brokers in American society.
“This is a solemn day for all West Virginians,” Stuart said. “On this day — West Virginia Day — the people of our great state deserve better. They have worked too hard and too long to tolerate misconduct that strikes at the heart of the public’s trust by elected officials.
“I intend to do all I can to ensure that our people have the honest government they deserve.”
Controversy has swirled around Loughry for months, and the former Chief Justice was hit earlier this month with a series of charges by the state Judicial Investigation Commission.
Early this month, the state Judicial Investigations Commission leveled charges that Loughry lied repeatedly — including the withholding of a federal subpoena from his fellow justices — and used his office for personal gain.
The Judicial Investigations Commission stacked up 32 charges against Loughry, the result of an investigation that began in February.
That aspect of trouble for Loughry is expected to go on hold while the federal charges are under consideration.
Loughry was suspended without pay by a panel of temporary Supreme Court justices led by Kanawha Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit. The temporary justices withheld any decision about Loughry’s law license.
By the end of that week, the Governor, the Senate president, the House speaker and legislative Democrats all called on Loughry to step aside.
Democrats stepped up calls today to begin impeachment proceedings against Loughry.