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The Latest: Committee ends work on articles of impeachment

August 7, 2018

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The Latest on a West Virginia legislative committee considering impeachment proceedings involving the West Virginia Supreme Court (all times local):

6:15 p.m.

A legislative committee has finished its work on articles of impeachment against four West Virginia Supreme Court justices.

The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday cited indicted Justice Allen Loughry and the three other justices in forwarding 14 of 16 proposed articles to the full House of Delegates. Two articles were rejected. Most dealt with spending and lavish office renovations.

The House will meet starting next Monday. If the House approves any of the articles, an impeachment trial would be held in the state Senate.

Loughry was indicted in federal court in June on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, lying to federal law enforcement, witness tampering and obstruction of justice. Gov. Jim Justice and legislative leaders have asked him to resign.

Justice Menis Ketchum retired last month and was not involved in the hearings. Last week prosecutors said Ketchum has agreed to plead guilty in federal court to one count of wire fraud stemming from the personal use of state-owned vehicles and fuel cards.

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4:40 p.m.

A committee has rejected a proposed article of impeachment involving West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Beth Walker’s payment to an outside counsel to write an opinion for her.

The article was the first to be rejected by the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. The committee has approved 10 other articles involving all four justices and still has others to debate.

Walker paid current interim court administrator Barbara Allen to write an opinion for her last year. Allen wasn’t a court employee at the time. The court also had paid Allen to write a 2016 opinion.

Some lawmakers argued the charge didn’t rise to the level of an impeachable offense.

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3:30 p.m.

A West Virginia legislative committee has added a new proposed article of impeachment against suspended state Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry over allegations that he lied to legislative investigators.

The House Judiciary Committee added the article Tuesday. It’s the 15th article being considered against all four justices.

The article accuses Loughry of lying to the House Finance Committee and deceiving them about his knowledge of and involvement in his office renovations at the state Capitol in Charleston.

According to earlier testimony, Loughry was involved in the design of his office, which included a $32,000 custom-made couch and a hardwood and granite-inlay county map in the floor of his office.

Loughry has been indicted on federal charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, lying to federal law enforcement, witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

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2:30 p.m.

A West Virginia legislative committee has voted to forward some articles of impeachment against all four state Supreme Court justices to the full House for consideration.

During lengthy debate Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee approved all eight articles that it’s considered at the state Capitol in Charleston. There are 14 proposed articles overall.

Five of the approved articles involve suspended Justice Allen Loughry. He has been indicted on federal charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, lying to federal law enforcement, witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

Gov. Jim Justice and legislative leaders have asked Loughry to resign. He has not responded.

Three of the approved articles each also involve Justices Robin Davis and Margaret Workman for various allegations, and one involves Justice Beth Walker.

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11 a.m.

A West Virginia legislative committee has heard 14 potential articles of impeachment against four state Supreme Court justices.

The articles were read Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee at the state Capitol in Charleston. The committee is holding a lengthy debate on a motion to adopt all 14 draft articles.

Suspended Justice Allen Loughry is mentioned in six of the articles. Loughry was indicted in federal court in June on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, lying to federal law enforcement, witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

Other articles of impeachment involve justices Margaret Workman, Robin Davis and Beth Walker.

Justice Menis Ketchum retired last month. Last week prosecutors said Ketchum has agreed to plead guilty to one federal count of wire fraud stemming from the personal use of state-owned vehicles and fuel cards.

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