As sentencing nears, Loughry’s separate judicial hearing is postponed

CHARLESTON — With sentencing straight ahead, a separate judicial hearing for former state Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry that had been scheduled for today has been moved to Feb. 6.

The rescheduled hearing was announced today.

The judicial hearing is related to the charges Loughry has faced in federal court, but the hearing falls under the purview of the state Judicial Investigation Commission.

The Judicial Investigation Commission filed a 32-count Statement of Charges against the justice in early June, which was followed by his suspension by a fill-in state Supreme Court.

The Judicial Investigation Commission concluded Loughry “engaged in a pattern and practice of lying and using his public office for private gain.”

The disciplinary hearing will be held in the Visiting Judge’s Courtroom at the Kanawha County Judicial Annex in Charleston.

Meanwhile, Loughry faces sentencing Wednesday on 10 federal counts.

A jury found him guilty in October of 11 of the 23 counts he originally faced. U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver acquitted Loughry of one of the counts, a witness tampering charge, in an order released Friday.

Loughry has filed two motions for a re-trial.

Copenhaver denied one of the motions Friday, saying the jury had more than enough evidence to find Loughry guilty on mail and wire fraud charges.

“Indeed,” the judge wrote, “the consistency with which the defendant engaged in these unlawful acts over a 15-month period establishes the pattern and practice of fraudulent conduct that enabled him to convert to his own use, by false pretenses, assets of the state of West Virginia.”

The mail fraud counts charged Loughry with improperly seeking travel expense reimbursement for travel to a conference, even though he had used a state vehicle and a state-issued gasoline purchasing card.

The similar wire fraud counts charged Loughry with using a state vehicle and state-issued gasoline purchasing card for personal travel. Most of those trips were for signing events for Loughry’s book on political corruption in West Virginia.

Loughry, the author of “Don’t Buy Another Vote, I Won’t Pay for Landslide: The Sordid and Continuing History of Political Corruption in West Virginia,” was still chief justice of the Supreme Court this time last year.

Public controversy enveloped Loughry as he faced allegation after allegation about the expensive remodeling of his office, his use of state vehicle for private travel and his moving an antique “Cass Gilbert” desk from the state Capitol to his home.

The scandals started with WCHS-TV reports about the office renovation. Loughry, in those television reports, initially blamed fired Supreme Court administrator Steve Canterbury.

Loughry went to federal investigators with his concerns, prompting them to dig into Supreme Court finances.

Federal prosecutor Philip Wright told jurors during his opening statement that investigators initially set out to check Loughry’s claims, “but which swirled around and came back to him.”

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