CHARLESTON – A federal grand jury had added another charge to suspended state Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry's indictment.
On July 17, the grand jury added a 23rd charge in a superseding indictment. The newest charge is for obstruction of justice.
“Today, a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment against West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Allen Loughry,” U.S. Attorney Mike 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.”
The new count charges that 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.
It also says Loughry allegedly obstructed justice by, among other things, deflecting attention away from his own misconduct and blaming others for improperly using Supreme Court funds and property; creating a false narrative about when a $42,000 antique Cass Gilbert desk was moved to his home and under whose direction; using invoices not related to the transfer of a leather couch and the Cass Gilbert desk to his home in 2013 to buttress the false narrative he created, and repeating the false narrative to a Special Agent of the FBI in an interview on March 2, 2018.
Loughry, 47, originally was named June 20 in the 22-count federal indictment, accused of wire fraud, mail fraud, lying to federal investigators and witness tampering. He pleaded not guilty, and his trial is scheduled for Aug. 28. A pretrial motions hearing is set for Aug. 7. Loughry remains free on a $10,000 non-surety bond.
He 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 for his own use a historically significant people of furniture — a Cass Gilbert desk valued at more than $42,000. He 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.
In addition, Loughry was named June 6 in a 32-count Statement of Charges by the Judicial Investigation Commission. The JIC claims 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.” On June 8, the state Supreme Court suspended Loughry without pay while the charges of judicial misconduct against him are pending. And the state Supreme Court since has put any proceedings regarding the state charges on hold pending the federal matter.
Last week, the state Legislature started impeachment proceedings against all members of the state Supreme Court. On July 11, the day before the hearings began, Justice Menis Ketchum announced his retirement.