CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Former state Supreme Court Justice Menis Ketchum is scheduled to appear for a plea hearing in federal court later this month.
The office of U.S. District John Copenhaver confirmed Wednesday the hearing has been initially set for Aug. 23 at 11 a.m. in Charleston Federal Court.
Ketchum, 75, of Huntington, has signed a federal information where he agrees to plead guilty to one count of wire fraud in connection with an ongoing federal investigation into the state Supreme Court by U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart.
An information indicates Ketchum is cooperating with federal investigators by agreeing to waive indictment and admit to using a state-owned vehicle and state-issued fuel card for personal travel in 2014.
Stuart announced the charges against Ketchum last week, just a few days after his retirement from the Court became official.
“Justice Ketchum did the right thing for doing the wrong thing. Justice Ketchum stepped up and owned his illegal activity,” Stuart said at a July 31 news conference.
“The West Virginia Supreme Court should be and must be above reproach, above even the slightest appearance of impropriety. That’s critical. After all, it is the highest court in the land and its justices are elected by the people — our neighbors and our families — to stand in judgment of us, all of us.”
Suspended Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry faces a 23-count indictment. He is fighting the charges. His trial is set for Oct. 2.
The House of Delegates Judiciary Committee voted in favor of more than a dozen Articles of Impeachment against Loughry, Chief Justice Margaret Workman, Justice Robin Davis and Justice Beth Walker. The full House of Delegates is scheduled to take up the case Monday. Approval of any of the articles would send the impeachment charge to the state Senate for a trial.
The maximum sentence for Ketchum’s wire fraud case is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine but there are many adjustments that can be made through federal sentencing guidelines.