CHARLESTON — West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to obstructing justice, the latest in a string of 23 federal charges.
Loughry, who is facing impeachment by state lawmakers, entered the plea during a brief federal arraignment hearing.
Loughry, already facing 22 federal charges, was hit with another July 17.
That day, U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart announced the grand jury that returned the original indictment against Loughry — for wire and mail fraud, false statements and witness tampering offenses — returned a superseding indictment with the additional count for obstruction of justice count.
“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,” Stuart said July 17.
“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.”
It’s another charge that Loughry — the author of “Don’t Buy Another Vote, I Won’t Pay for a Landslide: The Sordid And Continuing History of Political Corruption in West Virginia” — lied to federal investigators.
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.
The superseding indictment alleges Loughry:
— Obstructed justice by deflecting attention away from his own misconduct and blaming others for improperly using Supreme Court funds and property;
— Created a false narrative about when a Cass Gilbert desk was moved to his home and under whose direction;
— Used 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, and misled an FBI special agent in an interview March 2.
On Wednesday, Loughry walked in the front door of the United States Courthouse in Charleston, accompanied by his lawyer John Carr, who said there would be no comment.