CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Justice Allen Loughry is asking for a new trial.
His motion for a new trial was filed Friday, although the motion and several attachments are sealed. So the grounds under which Loughry is asking for a new trial remain unclear.
Federal prosecutors have filed a response, acknowledging Loughry’s motion for a new trial and confirming that the motion has been sealed.
The prosecutors’ response that was filed Monday is not sealed. It includes a little bit more context about what Loughry is doing.
The federal prosecutors indicate that Loughry’s lawyer, John Carr, has asked for a transcript of a portion of the trial proceedings on an expedited basis.
Loughry has also asked the court to allow for additional briefings after receipt of the transcript.
All that is happening even as the state Legislature considers whether to file a new impeachment charge against Loughry, focusing specifically on his federal conviction earlier this month.
The latest court action is yet another tangle in Loughry’s legal complications.
Gov. Jim Justice again last week called for Loughry to resign from the state Supreme Court.
“I wish to goodness that Justice Loughry would just do what seems to be the right thing,” the governor said.
“Now, I don’t portray to know every little detail, but it just seems the right thing is resignation and go on down the road.”
Loughry continues to be suspended from the Supreme Court. He was supposed to go through an impeachment trial in the state Senate later this month, but it doesn’t appear that is happening as planned.
Chief Justice Margaret Workman successfully had her own impeachment trial blocked in the court system.
Last week, the acting Supreme Court that ruled in Workman’s case clarified that Loughry’s trial should be halted on the same grounds.
Representatives of the House of Delegates have been discussing the possibility of going through Loughry’s impeachment yet again, possibly using his federal conviction as the main grounds.
House Speaker Roger Hanshaw described that likelihood during an appearance today on MetroNews’ “Talkline.”
“Where I expect the House to go is to adopt an article that says Justice Loughry is impeached for having been found guilty of various federal infractions,” said Hanshaw, R-Clay.
He said that’s likely to take place around regularly-scheduled November interim meetings.
“I see no reason this couldn’t be knocked out then,” Hanshaw said.
Loughry’s motion for a new trial could throw a new impeachment based on his conviction into doubt now too.
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) October 30, 2018
On yet another level, the Judicial Investigation Commission, which handles allegation of wrongdoing in the judicial branch, has lifted a pause on its own actions against Loughry.
The Judicial Investigation Commission had put a hold on its 32 counts against Loughry while his federal trial was pending.
A disciplinary hearing was set for Jan. 14, 2019, two days before Loughry’s scheduled federal sentencing.
Loughry’s federal trial lasted the bulk of two weeks early this month.
He was found guilty of 11 counts of wire fraud, tampering with a witness and lying to federal agents.
Most of the charges alleged Loughry regularly used a state vehicle and state-issued purchasing card for personal travel. A few others surrounded the antique “Cass Gilbert” desk that was in Loughry’s own home.
Because of the controversy that has followed Loughry for a year, the court took extra time and effort to identify a jury considered impartial. Jury selection from an expanded pool took a full day.
Each day at the end of trial, U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver instructed jurors to avoid traditional and social media.
U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart and his team addressed reporters after Loughry’s conviction from the courthouse steps. Stuart praised jurors for carefully considering the facts of the case.
“I have amazing respect and appreciation for the jury in this case,” Stuart said. “This was a difficult case, a highly emotional case and clearly the jury took its time, it deliberated, considered all the evidence.
“And I would think for anybody watching this case, 22 counts ultimately, 11 guilty, 10 not guilty, one undetermined — I think it really renders great faith in the jury system.”