Loughry pleads not guilty to federal charges; trial scheduled to begin Aug. 28

By Chris Dickerson | Jun 22, 2018

CHARLESTON – Suspended state Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry pleaded not guilty to the charges in the 22-count federal criminal indictment unsealed earlier this week.

Loughry, 47, spoke only when responding to questions during the brief arraignment June 22 before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Dwane Tinsley.

“Mr. Loughry how do you plead?” Tinsley asked.    

“Not guilty, sir,” replied Loughry, who appeared with his attorney John Carr. During their entrance and exit from the courthouse, neither Loughry nor Carr answered questions from reporters.

Loughry’s trial is set for Aug. 28 before District Judge John Copenhaver. A pretrial motions hearing is set for Aug. 7. Loughry remains free on a $10,000 non-surety bond.

Loughry was indicted June 20 – West Virginia Day – on 22 counts that include lying to federal agents, witness tampering, mail fraud and wire fraud. If convicted of all charges, he faces fines of $5.5 million and 395 years in prison. He also faces up to three years of supervised release.

Loughry is accused of using a government vehicle and submitting mileage claims for reimbursement; using a government vehicle and credit card on personal trips; and unlawfully converting his own use a historically significant people of furniture — the Cass Gilbert desk.

Loughry also was indicted for attempting to corruptly obstruct and influence testimonial evidence of a Supreme Court employee in an imminent grand jury investigation.

He also is accused of lying to federal investigators during questioning about the allegations.

Loughry’s indictment was unsealed five years to the day after Loughry had an antique Cass Gilbert desk valued at more than $40,000 moved from the state Capitol to his home.

The 22-count indictment charges are 16 counts of mail fraud, which carry a penalty of up to 20 years each; two counts of wire fraud, which carry a penalty of up to 20 years each; three counts of making false statements to a federal agent, which carry a penalty of up to five years each; and one count of witness tampering, which carries a penalty of up to 20 years.

The state Supreme Court suspended Loughry without pay while charges of judicial misconduct against him were pending on June 8. That motion meant that Loughry could not hear any arguments or perform any judicial functions while his case progresses through the court system.

Two days prior, a request to suspend Loughry's law license was issued, along with a 32-count Statement of Charges.

In the June 6 filing, the Judicial Investigation Commission claimed Loughry violated the Code of Judicial Conduct by making "false statements with the deliberate attempt to deceive, engaged in sophism and gave disinformation with the intent to harm another person.”

The JIC statement said it had been investigating Loughry since February.

The state Supreme Court likely will put its judicial conduct proceedings on hold until the federal criminal matter is resolved.

U.S. District Court case number 2:18-cr-00134

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