Legislative leaders call for possible impeachment proceedings of Supreme Court justices

West Virginia's Senate president and House speaker are calling for impeachment proceedings that may be necessary for any member or members of the state Supreme Court. (WCHS/WVAH)

West Virginia's Senate president and House speaker are calling for impeachment proceedings that may be necessary for any member or members of the state Supreme Court.

A letter from Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, and House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, was sent Friday to Joint Judiciary Committee chairmen Charles Trump, R-Morgan, and John Shott, R-Mercer, just hours after Justice Allen Loughry pleaded not guilty Friday to charges in a sweeping federal indictment that accuses him of mail and wire fraud, witness tampering and making false statements to the FBI.

"While all potential parties to any matter such as an impeachment proceeding are entitled to a presumption of innocence, the serious allegations demand that we begin the process of evaluating whether formal impeachment proceedings are proper and advisable," the letter said.

The letter said this process could take many days. The last time impeachment proceedings took place was in 1989 when the Judiciary Committee held a 10-day hearing that involved the questioning of 19 witnesses and led the impeachment of former State Treasurer A. James Manchin.

Read the complete letter here:

Loughry is the only justice who has been indicted . On Friday, he pleaded not guilty to 22 charges - 16 counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, one count of witness tampering and three counts of making false statements to a federal agent. Regarding any other possible indictments, U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart has said federal investigators are going to let the evidence take them where it takes them.

Loughry's trial has been set for 9:30 a.m. Aug. 28.

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