CHARLESTON, W.Va. – U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart has called a news conference for 10 a.m. where he is expected to announce that former West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Menis Ketchum has agreed to plead guilty to a federal information relating to his private use of state vehicles.
An information is used by federal authorities when a defendant agrees to plead guilty and waives his right to an indictment.
Federal investigators have been looking into the spending practices of the State Supreme Court. Justice Allen Loughry is already facing a 23 count indictment and has been suspended without pay.
Ketchum announced he would resign his seat July 11 after months of controversy surrounding the court. Ketchum is retiring, effective at the end of the business day this Friday.
Loughry has been suspended from the court following state and federal probes that focused on his use of state property and whether he was honest with investigators.
Ketchum was caught up in an investigation of the use of state vehicles by justices for personal gain. A legislative audit revealed that Ketchum should have indicated his use of the vehicles on his personal income tax returns but did not.
Ketchum obtained official permission from his fellow justices in 2012 to start using a state vehicle to commute between the Capitol and his home in Huntington.
Ketchum regularly used a state-owned Buick to commute to the court from his Huntington home. Ketchum also took the car to several out-of-state golf outings.
Ketchum had his W-2 forms retroactively updated to reflect that, the audit stated. Ketchum also repaid the state $1,663.81 for incorrect travel expenses.
Ketchum was elected to the Supreme Court on November 4, 2008, and his term ends in 2020. He served as chief justice of the court in 2012 and in 2016.