Transactions scrutinized at trial for West Virginia justice
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A witness in the trial of West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry on Thursday outlined dozens of transactions associated with state vehicles that were in use by the suspended judge.
But in her testimony, the director of finance for the state’s high court, Susan Racer-Troy, said the transactions alone wouldn’t account for who was using the vehicles at the time.
As Loughry’s trial continued in federal court, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported that Racer-Troy spent more than an hour and a half reviewing statements for state-issued credit cards with Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg McVey. Racer-Troy said the credit cards in question were assigned to specific vehicles, instead of specific employees. The cards only allow for the purchase of gasoline and up to $10 in miscellaneous car-related items, such as windshield wipers, she said.
Most charges against Loughry involved wire fraud allegations that he used state vehicles and gas cards for personal use. Others contend Loughry made false statements, tampered with witnesses and committed wire fraud.
At McVey’s request, Racer-Troy went line by line, reviewing the time, cost, date and location of dozens of transactions made with cards that were associated with vehicles that prosecutors say Loughry was using.
Most transactions were for gasoline.
Racer-Troy said the credit-card statements don’t indicate who used the card, but records from the court’s fleet manager would show who had which car and when.
On Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip Wright said those credit card and fleet records along with Loughry’s personal calendars would show that he was using the state vehicles and credit cards to facilitate personal trips to places including Tucker County to visit his parents and The Greenbrier resort for book signing events.
Under cross examination by Loughry’s defense attorney John Carr, Racer-Troy said it’s not unusual for the credit cards to be moved among vehicles when a vehicle is totaled or taken out of commission.
She said the court’s fleet manger is responsible for assigning cards to vehicles and keeping track of them, and it was possible that a certain card could have been moved to a new vehicle without her knowledge. That means there could be times when financial records do not accurately reflect which credit card is in which vehicle, Racer-Troy said.
Loughry was suspended from his seat earlier this year after the state Judicial Investigation Commission said he kept secret a December federal subpoena served on the Supreme Court. He was replaced as chief justice in February after the other justices received another subpoena and found out about the first one.
Separately, Loughry and three other justices were impeached by the state House of Delegates in August stemming from questions involving lavish renovations to their offices that evolved into accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty.
One of those justices, Beth Walker, was cleared of an impeachment charge Tuesday in a trial before the state Senate. Loughry and justices Margaret Workman and retired Justice Robin Davis face impeachment trials later. A fifth justice, Menis Ketchum, resigned before impeachment proceedings began.