Jury deliberations in Justice Loughry federal court trial to continue on Friday

Jurors will continue to deliberate Friday in the federal court trial of West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry. Loughry, shown here at left, with his attorney, John Carr. (WCHS/WVAH)

UPDATE, 5 p.m.

Jurors will return Friday for another day of deliberations after not reaching a verdict Thursday in the federal court trial of West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry.

The jury will resume its talks at 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Loughry faces 22 federal charges - two counts of mail fraud, 17 counts of wire fraud, one count of witness tampering and two counts of false statements

On Thursday, jurors returned to the courthouse at 9:30 a.m. to resume deliberations after deliberating for about an hour and a half Wednesday. Thursday they continued to talk until about noon and took a lunch break until 1:15 p.m. The jury was excused Thursday about 5 p.m. to resume deliberations on Friday.

Jurors resumed deliberations Thursday in the federal court trial of West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry.

Jurors deliberated for about an hour and a half Wednesday before breaking for the day. The jury resumed deliberations about 9:45 a.m. Thursday and still has not reached a verdict. Jurors broke for lunch and will return at 1:15 p.m. to resume deliberations.

Loughry faces 22 federal charges - two counts of mail fraud, 17 counts of wire fraud, one count of witness tampering and two counts of false statements.

Jurors are deliberating on the eighth day of the trial for Loughry in U.S. District Court in Charleston.

During closing arguments Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg McVey said when Loughry was elected, he gained power and with that power came arrogance and an unbridled sense of entitlement at the court had never seen.

McVey argued that Loughry treated public resources as his own. He then detailed the accusations in the 22-count indictment.

Counts 23 and 25 involve allegations that Loughry made false statements to the FBI regarding the use of a state vehicle and a Cass Gilbert desk that he took home. The assistant U.S. attorney mentioned that several people talked about during testimony that Loughry was aware that he had a historic Cass Gilbert desk at his home, despite what he told investigators.

Meanwhile, the government also mentioned counts 4 through 18 in the indictment regarding Loughry’s alleged use of a state vehicle and fuel purchase card. The assistant attorney cited several different instances, including holidays and book signings that Loughry did at The Greenbrier resort.

Loughry has contended that any time he used a state vehicle and fuel card it was for state business and that he was always a justice never off the clock.

The government also touched on count 1 and 2 that deal with wire fraud involving travel Loughry did to his alma mater when he took a state vehicle and American sent him a check for his travel.

McVey also talked about the witness tampering allegation that involves when he met with employee Kim Ellis and tried to get her to remember that he told her he did not want his office renovations to exceed those of former Justice Menis Ketchum and Justice Margaret Workman. Ellis testified that Loughry never told her he wanted to keep those costs down.

In its closing arguments, the defense raised the point that jurors that the case had not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Loughry’s attorney John Carr said there were two things wrong with the state’s fuel purchase card system – odometer readings are entered by people and the time stamps don’t match up with the fuel pumps.

Carr also reiterated that that Loughry didn’t know that he had a historic Cass Gilbert desk in his possession. He also contended that former Supreme Court administrator Steve Canterburylied on the stand when he said he didn’t know that Loughry had a Cass Gilbert desk.

The defense attorney also questioned witness memories and said former Supreme Court Justice Brent Benjamin’s testimony should be discounted because he was aligned with former Justice Robin Davis.

Prosecutors contended during the trial that Loughry walked into the Robert C. Byrd Courthouse in March and made false statements to an FBI agent, denying he used a state vehicle for personal use, lied about the Cass Gilbert desk and that he knew it was a Cass Gilbert desk that was transported to his home.

Loughry also is accused of traveling to his alma mater American University to speak and charged for mileage even though he used a state vehicle. The government said Loughry did a similar thing when he made an appearance at a “think tank.”

The defense contended that the case was all based on conjecture and hearsay and that Loughry had made many people mad when he authored a book about political corruption. His attorney maintained it was all about settling a political score.

His use of state vehicles was the center of most charges with witnesses testifying he took cars for personal use to his home county and other places on holidays and weekends. That charge he denied on the stand, and in a March interview with the FBI. and other investigators, which played for jurors at the trial.

During the trial, the government did a deep dive into documents as they reviewed Loughry’s travel and use of state vehicles and a fuel card.

Loughry has faced a series of legal troubles. He is currently suspended from the bench at the West Virginia Supreme Court and his trial on seven articles of impeachment is scheduled Nov. 12 in the state Senate. He also is accused of violating the Code of Judicial Conduct.

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