UPDATE: Suspended Justice Allen Loughry found guilty on 11 counts

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ, AP) -- UPDATE 10/12/18 4:25PM
In a historic outcome for a West Virginia courtroom, the jury found suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry guilty of nearly a dozen of the 22 federal charges against him.

Guilty: 11 counts
Not Guilty: 10 counts

The jury was hung on one count. The judge decided to not issue an Allen Charge for that count which would have encouraged the jury to continue deliberating.

Loughry previously pleaded not guilty to the 22 federal charges against him (prosecutors ultimately dropped three of the charges in the indictment.) The charges include wire fraud and lying to FBI agents.

This investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use, and lying to cover up his wrongdoing.

Throughout the trial, the jury, made up of 10 women and two men, heard testimony from Loughry himself and about two dozen witnesses.

Closing arguments wrapped up Wednesday afternoon, sending the jury into deliberations. Thursday came and went without a verdict. Shortly after 1 p.m. Friday, the jury took a break from deliberating to ask the attorneys questions. We're told the first question was along the lines of: If we have a hung jury on one count, what happens? The second question was a follow up: Does that just affect that charge or the entire case?

For the second question, lawyers instructed the jury that it will only affect the individual charge that they cannot come to an agreement on. The attorneys decided to hold off on answering the first question and sent the jurors back to deliberate.

This was Loughry's criminal trial. He could also be removed from office. Loughry and three other justices were impeached by the state House of Delegates over questions involving lavish office renovations that evolved into accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty. It is now up to the West Virginia Senate to decide whether or not to officially remove the judge from office.

Loughry's impeachment trial is set for Nov. 12 in the state Senate.

In addition to Loughry, the House voted to impeach Justices Robin Davis, Beth Walker, and Margaret Workman.

The Senate already voted to not remove Walker from office.

Justice Margaret Workman's trial was scheduled to begin Oct. 15. On Thursday, the WV Supreme Court stopped the trial, and the Senate now plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Justice Robin Davis retired in August -- the same day the House of Delegates voted to impeach.

Justice Menis Ketchum retired/resigned from the high court in July, but pleaded guilty to a federal charge of wire fraud.

UPDATE 10/12/18 3:40
Jurors are average, everyday people from various walks of life -- most are not criminal justice experts. That's why the jury handling a historic case against a West Virginia Supreme Court justice took a break from deliberating Friday afternoon to ask a couple of questions.

Shortly after 1 p.m. Friday, the jury had two questions for attorneys. We're told the first question was along the lines of: If we have a hung jury on one count, what happens? The second question was a follow up: Does that just affect that charge or the entire case?

For the second question, lawyers instructed the jury that it will only affect the individual charge that they cannot come to an agreement on. The attorneys decided to hold off on answering the first question and sent the jurors back to deliberate.

Made up of 10 women and two men, the jury heard testimony from Loughry himself and about two dozen witnesses throughout the trial.

Loughry is facing 22 federal charges (prosecutors dropped three of the charges in the indictment) including wire fraud and lying to FBI agents. The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use, and lying to cover up his wrongdoing.

He previously pleaded not guilty. If convicted, the justice faces hundreds of years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

UDPATE 10/12/18 10:00 AM
Jury deliberations resume Friday in the case against suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry.

When jurors reconvene at 9:30 a.m., this will be the third day of deliberations. Closing arguments wrapped up, sending the case to the jurors around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Made up of 10 women and two men, the jury heard testimony from Loughry himself and about two dozen witnesses throughout the trial.

Loughry is facing 22 federal charges (prosecutors dropped three of the charges in the indictment) including wire fraud and lying to FBI agents. The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use, and lying to cover up his wrongdoing.

He previously pleaded not guilty. If convicted, the justice faces hundreds of years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

UDPATE 10/11/18 5:31PM
Another trial day came and went without a verdict in the case against suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry.

The jury will resume deliberations at 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Made up of 10 women and two men, the jury heard testimony from Loughry himself and about two dozen witnesses throughout the trial.

Loughry is facing 22 federal charges (prosecutors dropped three of the charges in the indictment) including wire fraud and lying to FBI agents. The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use, and lying to cover up his wrongdoing.

He previously pleaded not guilty. If convicted, the justice faces hundreds of years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

UPDATE 10/10/18 2:50PM
The fate of suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry is now in the hands of the jurors.

Closing arguments wrapped up just before 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Loughry is currently facing 22 federal charges, mostly fraud charges. The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use, and lying to cover up his wrongdoing.

After closing arguments, the court went into recess for lunch. When they return, the judge will give final instructions and the jury will deliberate.

UPDATE 10/10/10
Closing arguments are underway in the trial for suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry.

Wednesday morning, jurors heard from the prosecution representing the United States government in the federal case.

The first statement from the prosecution said Justice Loughry took a position of ‘’significant power’’ when elected as a justice, but with that power also came an "arrogance" and a "sense of entitlement." The prosecution also said that when Loughry’s crimes came to light, he began bullying, creating false narratives, and deflecting attention away from his crimes.

The prosecution painted Loughry as a bully who intimidated people he worked with, later lied to federal investigators, and “when things got hot, he flat out lied.“

The prosecution said Loughry was elected to be a public servant, but wanted to be a master.

‘’The defendant is guilty on every single account and we ask you find him guilty,’’ said Attorney Greg McVey in closing to the jury.

After a short break, the defense will give their closing arguments, followed by a brief response from the prosecution. Then, jury deliberation will begin.

UPDATE 10/9/18 4:25PM
A suspended West Virginia Supreme Court justice has concluded his testimony in his federal criminal trial.

Both the United States and the defense rested Tuesday afternoon. Closing arguments are set for Wednesday morning.

Justice Allen Loughry was grilled by a federal prosecutor for a second day Tuesday over receipts and the use of state-owned property that the government contends was for his own benefit.

Defense attorney John Carr asked Loughry about odometer readings for some state vehicles he drove that were lower than previous readings for the same car driven on the same day.

Loughry declared, "These records are a mess."

Loughry is charged with fraud, false statements and witness tampering.

The defense rested Tuesday.

Loughry and three other justices were impeached over questions involving lavish office renovations that evolved into accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty. Loughry's impeachment trial is set for next month.

UPDATE 10/9/18
Suspended West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Allen Loughry II is taking the stand again Tuesday in his own defense. The justice is facing more than 20 federal charges as well as possible impeachment in a separate investigation.

Loughry is accused of using his public office for personal gain. He previously pleaded not guilty. If convicted, the justice faces hundreds of years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

During cross-examination Tuesday, Loughry disputed some of the evidence presented including gas, travel, and cell phone records.

For example, records show Loughry used a state-owned vehicle on Thanksgiving Day to travel several hundred miles. Prosecutors asked him what official business could have happened on a holiday. Loughry could not provide an answer, but did say Supreme Court justices work 365 days a year.

Loughry claimed he is not an expert in all of this, so to speak, and cannot answer some of the questions asked of him. "That is your representation," he told the prosecutor at one point. The justice often did not give definitive answers to the prosecution's questions.

The suspended justice has spent at least six hours on the stand so far including his testimony Monday.

This federal investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, and using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use.

We expect to hear from Loughry's assistant Tuesday as well as former Administrative Director of Courts Steve Canterbury. Loughry has blamed many of the allegations against him on Canterbury.

After more than 11 years on the job, Canterbury was ousted from the Supreme Court in January of 2017 (when Loughry became chief justice) by the court's vote of 3-2. Shortly after, Canterbury told our media partner WV MetroNews that his firing was political, "pure and simple." Canterbury admitted to MetroNews that his relationship with Loughry started to disintegrate some time before his firing, but he chose not to elaborate on what may have caused the problems.

UDPATE 10/8/18 4:07PM
Suspended West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Allen Loughry II has taken the stand Monday afternoon in his ongoing federal trial.

Loughry has testified nearly an hour and a half. He is accused of using his public office as a judge for personal gain.

The United States rested its case early afternoon. Monday marked Day 5 of the trial and featured three prosecution witnesses that morning.

Before Loughry began testifying, the defense tried to dismiss three more charges: witness tampering and two fraud counts due to lack of evidence cited by the prosecution. The judge, however, dismissed that motion.

Stay with 5 news for the latest.

UPDATE 10/8/18
Jurors are back in court Monday on the fifth day of a historic trial, working through the Columbus Day holiday to determine the fate of West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Allen Loughry.

Three new witnesses took the stand Monday morning, called by the United States.

The testimony was so dry at times that it had one juror nodding off. The judge had the jury stand for about 20 minutes to stretch and get their energy flowing.

During the morning session, the prosecution questioned witnesses ranging from the Supreme Court justice’s neighbor to the former U.S. Attorney Carol Casto.

Loughry’s neighbor testified that it was not unusual to see a state vehicle parked in front of Loughry's home, especially during weekends and holiday periods. She also testified that she saw Loughry, his wife and young son load up the state vehicle with luggage during the holidays and leave for several days.

The jury also heard in detail from an FBI special agent about cell phone records, tracking Justice Loughry’s movements, including during times the court would have been in recess and during holiday times.

Jurors have already heard from about 20 witnesses.

UPDATE 10/5/18
A messenger for West Virginia's Supreme Court has testified at Justice Allen Loughry's criminal trial that he helped the judge move a state-owned couch and a desk from Loughry's home in late 2017.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the court messenger, Paul Mendez, recounted Friday when he and two others helped move the furniture, but he couldn't remember exact dates. All three officials have said they went to Loughry's home and retrieved the couch.

A neighbor took photos of the men moving the couch from Loughry's home, and a photo was circulated on social media.

One of the criminal counts against Loughry accuses him of lying when he told an FBI agent he didn't know the desk he had transferred to his house had historical significance and value. Most charges against Loughry involved wire fraud allegations that he used state vehicles and gas cards for personal use.

UPDATE 10/4/18
A witness in the trial of West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry has outlined dozens of transactions associated with state vehicles that were in use by the suspended judge.

But the director of finance for the state's high court testified Thursday that the transactions alone wouldn't account for who was using the vehicles at the time.

Susan Racer-Troy's testimony came as Loughry's trial continued in federal court.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that Racer-Troy spent more than an hour and a half reviewing statements for state-issued credit cards with Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg McVey. Racer-Troy said the credit cards in question were assigned to specific vehicles, instead of specific employees.

Most charges against Loughry involved wire fraud allegations that he used state vehicles and gas cards for personal use.

UPDATE 10/3/18 2:00PM
In a historic criminal trial, suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry II is now facing fewer charges.

Three charges were dropped Wednesday. Loughry now faces only 22 federal charges instead of 25.

The charges that were dropped include mail fraud, obstruction of justice, and making a false statement.

Loughry is accused of using his public office for personal gain. He previously pleaded not guilty. If convicted, the justice faces hundreds of years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, and using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use.

Opening arguments wrapped up Wednesday after the jury heard from both the prosecution and the defense for about 30 minutes each.

Prosecutors warned the jury that some of the evidence in the case is dry, speaking about documents and records. Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip Wright said all of the evidence will piece together a puzzle -- a picture of Loughry's fraud.

Defense Attorney John Carr said the federal government does not have any solid evidence and cannot prove Loughry's intent. He also said the justice does not believe he committed any crimes, blaming politics for being a dirty business.

"Not everything is as it first appears," Carr reiterated several times.

Carr told the jury the case is not about political scores, hearsay, or "fake news." He said the government is alleging federal, felony charges that are very serious. Carr also told members of the jury that they need to question the witnesses' motives and credibility.

The jury is made up of 10 women, two men and three alternates. More than 50 potential jurors were questioned throughout the day on Tuesday.

UPDATE 10/2/18 11:42 PM

A jury has been selected in the federal criminal case against suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry II.

It will be made up of 10 women, two men and three alternates.

More than 50 potential jurors were questioned throughout the day on Tuesday.

Loughry is accused of using his public office as judge for personal gain. He previously pleaded not guilty to the other 25 counts he faces. If convicted, the justice now faces a sentence of up to 405 years in prison, a fine of $5.75 million, and a term of supervised release of up to three years.

The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, and using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use.

The trial is set to begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday.


ORIGINAL STORY

The federal trial of a suspended West Virginia Supreme Court justice is starting a day after a colleague's impeachment trial began in the state Senate.

Jury selection is set to get underway Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Charleston for Justice Allen Loughry, who also has a Senate impeachment trial scheduled in November.

Loughry is accused in the 25-count federal indictment of repeatedly lying about using his office for personal gain, making personal use of a state vehicle and credit card, and trying to influence an employee's testimony and a federal grand jury investigation.

The indictment accuses him of "creating a false narrative" about an antique desk and leather couch that he had transferred from the Supreme Court offices to his home, and that he repeated the false narrative to an FBI special agent during a March interview.

The House of Delegates in August impeached him and justices Beth Walker, Margaret Workman and Robin Davis. Walker's impeachment trial started Monday and resumes Tuesday.

The cases targeted spending, including lavish office renovations, and also raised questions about corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty earlier this decade.

A legislative audit report said the court's chief justices skirted state law concerning pay for senior status judges who are no longer on full-time duty by converting them from employees to independent contractors. The audit also tallied Supreme Court office renovations between 2012 and 2016 at $3.4 million, including $1.9 million for the five justices' chambers.

Loughry has repeatedly denied involvement in his office renovations. One such denial came during an appearance before the House Committee on Finance in January. Loughry was removed as chief justice and suspended without pay earlier this year by the state's high court.

Loughry, whose $353,000 in renovations included a $32,000 blue suede couch and a $7,500 wood-inlay floor map of West Virginia, has blamed former court administrator Steve Canterbury for the spending and fired him in January 2017.

Loughry also had a $42,000 state-owned antique desk moved into his home. He returned the desk after news outlets asked about it.

He also signed for a state car for a total of 212 days from 2013 to 2015 but failed to list a destination for 148 days, including trips to visit family and for signings of his 2006 book chronicling West Virginia political corruption. The indictment says he also sought mileage reimbursements for trips even though he drove a state vehicle and used a government credit card for gas.

Walker testified Monday in the Senate that she shouldn't be standing trial. House impeachment managers had reached a settlement agreement to drop her charge, but the Senate rejected it.

"When I think impeachment, I think about things like crime, stealing, lying and corruption," Walker said. "I don't think I've done any of those things."

Walker is accused of abuse of authority, a charge also levied against the other justices. It states they failed to control office expenses and maintain policies over matters such as working lunches and the use of state vehicles and office computers at home.

Walker said Monday she knew of no administrative policies to address excessive spending.

Impeachment trials also are set later this month for Workman and Davis. Davis announced her retirement shortly after her impeachment, but the Senate also rejected a resolution that would have dropped charges against her.

A fifth justice, Menis Ketchum, resigned before the impeachment proceedings began.

Some Democrats have criticized the impeachment moves as a power grab by majority Republican lawmakers, strategically timed to allow GOP Gov. Jim Justice to name U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins and former House Speaker Tim Armstead to temporarily replace Ketchum and Davis while running for their spots on the bench. Jenkins and Armstead are among 20 total candidates seeking those seats in a Nov. 6 special election.