CHARLESTON – Attorneys for Gov. Jim Justice say a federal investigation has ended with no charges against the governor or his family.
Former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Geroge Terwilliger, who is one of Justice’s personal attorneys, spoke during the brief press conference Jan. 7 in the Governor’s Reception Room. He was joined by fellow former federal prosecutors Mike Carey and Steve Ruby. Justice did not attend the press conference.
“I am pleased to announce that yesterday we were informed by career justice department prosecutors in the U.S. Department of Justice that the investigation has concluded with no allegation of any wrongdoing whatsoever,” Terwilliger said. “They found no wrongdoing.”
Terwilliger said he received the information Monday during a phone call with a career federal prosecutor. He also said there was no paperwork citing the end of the investigation, noting that sometimes such probes “just peter out.”
The press conference was held a day before Justice’s annual State of the State address and less than a week before the official filing period for candidates in the 2020 election begins. Justice will face opposition in the Republican primary.
A spokeswoman for Republican gubernatorial candidate Woody Thrasher issued a statement about the press conference.
“It's fascinating that the day after new polling shows Woody Thrasher neck and neck with Jim Justice, his criminal defense lawyer shows up at the Capitol for an announcement that raised more questions than answers," Ann Ali said. "West Virginians are ready for a governor who works hard, plays by the rules and gets results, and those are all the things Woody is known for."
Terwilliger also is representing Justice in a civil lawsuit filed by Delegate Isaac Sponaugle, who plans to run for governor as a Democrat, about Justice’s residency and whether he spends enough time in Charleston.
No federal officials ever verified an official investigation regarding Justice, his family and their companies, but there were subpoenas sent to various state agencies that indicated such a probe.
Justice, who has an estimated worth of $1.5 billion, has more than 90 companies with interests in coal, agriculture, timber, recreation and tourism.