CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – UPDATE (6/20/18 8:30 PM):
Governor Jim Justice issued the following statement on the indictment of Justice Loughry:
“The federal indictment of Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry today saddens me. This casts another shadow of negativity on West Virginia, which is certainly something we just plain don’t need.
Justice Loughry should immediately resign from office and spare our state any further embarrassment.
So many elected officials throughout West Virginia’s history have chosen to do things that are unethical and self-centered. Politicians today are too concerned with getting re-elected and end up doing things that only benefit themselves. We need to change that. We need people in government who genuinely want to serve the people of our state and aren’t concerned with their own self-interest.
It’s incredibly sad on the 155th birthday of our Great State that we have to face this issue, but West Virginians should not let these actions by a public official damage their confidence in our state. We are on the move, no matter what anybody says. There are so many great things happening in West Virginia, and I will continue to work every day to move our state forward.”
UPDATE (6/20/18 10:00 AM):
Former Chief Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court Allen Loughry has been indicted on federal charges.
The U.S. District Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia held a news conference at 10 announcing a 22 count federal indictment against Justice Loughry.
Among the charges filed against Justice Loughry are counts of lying to a federal law enforcement officer as well as more than a dozen charges of wire fraud and mail fraud.
U.S. Attorney Stuart credited the media on their handling of the case and the story. He did stress that Justice Loughry is considered innocent until proven guilty.
Justice Loughry was arrested in the morning of Wednesday, June 20th, 2018.
West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry is now suspended from the bench.
The action comes after a Judicial Investigations Committee filed a 32-count complaint against Justice Loughry, concerning everything from millions for lavish court expenditures for furniture and renovations, and whether Loughry lied to the Legislature about them.
“I think taxpayers should feel vindicated right now. That the judges that are appointed to the Supreme Court now and the JIC acted so swiftly,” said Del. Mike Pushkin, (D) Kanawha.
A temporary Supreme Court is sitting in judgment on Justice Loughry because all of his fellow Justices recused themselves from his case. Circuit Court Judge Joanna Tabit is Acting Chief Justice and signed-off on the suspension. Some think a suspension is not enough for Justice Loughry and he should quit.
“We’re looking at a situation of, not only did he spend the time on office renovations and those kinds of things, but now we’re going to spend more taxpayer dollars in going though proceedings for suspensions and things like that for him, when he could step down and restore integrity to our court system,” said Del. Andrew Robinson, (D) Kanawha.
Other’s tried to get Loughry removed from office earlier this year.
“I filed a complaint with the JIC, only after the Legislature failed to act when we filed the resolution for impeachment,” said Del. Mike Pushkin, (D) Kanawha.
Justice Loughry’s suspension is without pay.
The State Supreme Court is also under federal investigation, but whether that results in any charges at the U.S. District Courthouse, remains to be seen.
Late Friday afternoon West Virginia House Speaker Tim Armstead called on Justice Allen Loughry to resign.
Governor Jim Justice also released a statement Friday evening saying:
“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.”
Stay with 7News for updates.