<h1>Former West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry came before U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver at the Robert C. Byrd U.S. Courthouse on Wednesday, Feb. 13, and was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison as well as a $10,000 fine following the infamous \u201ccouchgate\u201d scandal that exposed financial misconduct within the Supreme Court, ultimately leading to the\u00a0 impeachment of all four Supreme Court justices.<\/h1>\r\nThis event was the first in the history of this country; no entire Supreme Court had previously been impeached.\r\n\r\nLoughry was thrust into the public spotlight after reporter Kennie Bass was approached by Steve Canterbury, a former administrative director with the Supreme Court, after Loughry fired him. Bass compiled a report that covered the extravagant tastes of the justices, including the now infamous $32,000 couch that was stationed in Loughry\u2019s office. The news quickly spread across the country, making national headlines and causing an uproar from tax-paying citizens around the state.\r\n\r\n\u201cToday is an important day.\u00a0 It is important for the people of West Virginia, in restoring the confidence of our citizens in the West Virginia Supreme Court, and in reaffirming the rule of law and the administration of justice,\u201d said United States Attorney Mike Stuart.\u00a0 \u201cOur system proved that it works.\u00a0 Arguably more important than any other part of the criminal justice system, sentencing is a reflection of our values as a society. The goals of sentencing are inherently contradictory and always involve a balancing of competing goals. These three goals are deterrence, denunciation, and rehabilitation. I want to thank my prosecution team, defense counsel and the jury for their tireless but critical roles in ensuring a just and fair result.\u00a0 I reiterate my amazing respect for the majesty of our system of justice \u2013 albeit imperfect it is the finest system known to mankind and the envy of the world.\u00a0 The preservation of liberty is best maintained through the confidence of the people in our system of fair and equal justice.\u201d\r\n\r\nStuart continued, \u201cI said it before and I will say it again, there\u2019s no such thing as a little bit of public corruption. It is a cancer that erodes the public\u2019s confidence in government and undermines the rule of law. Integrity and honesty need not be exceptions but, rather, should be the standard we expect from our public servants.\u00a0 To quote Mr. Loughry, as stated in his book:\u00a0 \u2018It is essential that people have the absolute confidence in the integrity and impartiality of our system of justice.\u2019 Today, with the sentence of Mr. Loughry, our system of justice took a big step in furthering the people\u2019s confidence.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cPublic corruption is a betrayal of the public\u2019s sacred trust,\u201d said FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Jones. \u201cThere is no level of acceptable corruption. The FBI will work tirelessly to make sure those in power positions uphold the law and are held to the highest standards.\u201d\r\n\r\nAfter an eleven-day trial in October 2018, a federal jury found Loughry guilty of one count of mail fraud, seven counts of wire fraud, and two counts of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.\r\n\r\nThe mail fraud conviction stemmed from his defrauding the Pound Civil Justice Institute of approximately $400 in the summer of 2014, when he claimed mileage to attend a conference in Baltimore, MD, as if he had driven his own personal vehicle when in fact he drove a Supreme Court vehicle. The seven wire fraud convictions related to Loughry\u2019s using a government fuel card to buy gasoline for travel that was not official business. Two of those wire fraud convictions involved purchases of gasoline by Loughry late at night on a holiday or weekend, not long after he had already filled up the Supreme Court\u2019s vehicle with gasoline upon returning from a trip. The remaining five convictions for wire fraud involved purchases of gasoline with a government fuel card and travel by Loughry in a Supreme Court vehicle to attend book-signing events at The Greenbrier Resort, for the book Loughry authored in 2006 about public corruption in West Virginia.\r\n\r\nLoughry\u2019s two convictions for lying to the FBI resulted from false answers he gave during an interview on March 2, 2018, by a Special Agent of the FBI. During that interview, Loughry claimed he never used a state vehicle for personal use and that he did not know that a desk he had in his home was a \u201cCass Gilbert desk\u201d or even a desk anyone had ever claimed to be a Cass Gilbert desk.\r\n\r\nAgents with the FBI and the West Virginia Commission on Special Investigations conducted the investigation. AUSAs Philip H. Wright and R. Gregory McVey handled the prosecution.