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Wheeling businessman indicted on wire fraud, tax evasion

WHEELING, W.Va. — A special grand jury in Wheeling has handed down a multiple-count indictment to a businessman accused of defrauding numerous investors and employees of his real estate development company.

Jeffrey James Morris, 36, has been indicted on 18 counts of wire fraud and 10 counts of failure to pay taxes. He was charged Tuesday.

Morris is a managing member and majority owner of Roxby Development, LLC. He’s accused of encouraging individuals to invest in real estate in Ohio County which included the McClure House Hotel, Mount Carmel Monastery, and Scottish Rite Cathedral.

The indictment alleges that approximately 20 investors were persuaded into investing in these projects that were spearheaded by Morris and Roxby. He received nearly $7 million from the investors, according to the indictment.

Bill Ihlenfeld

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia Bill Ihlenfeld said instead of using the money received from investors into making improvements to the properties, as promised, Morris allegedly used investor funds to pay for credit card transactions unrelated to Roxby renovations.

“This was a sophisticated scheme in which investors from West Virginia and other parts of the country were convinced into investing into projects that appeared to be legitimate,” said Ihlenfeld.

Ihlenfeld said Morris also used the funds to pay personal expenses, other investors and debts of a company unrelated to Roxby.

Morris is also charged with withholding taxes from the pay checks of his employees. He allegedly failed to pay over $252,000 to the Internal Revenue Service to include Medicare and social security taxes.

Ihlenfeld said Morris was able to use his persona to persuade the investors, and even some of his employees, to buy in to the scheme he was conducting.

According to Ihlenfeld, some of those employees believed they would’ve been reimbursed for their contributions to the projects that Morris pitched. They allegedly invested some of their own money.

“The allegations are that he intentionally defrauded investors and he was able to do that because he is a charismatic and persuasive person, which is what we typically see in cases like this,” said Ihlenfeld. “A large number of employees didn’t get their paychecks when the investor money dried up.”

The indictment claims that Morris’ scheme involved trying to get into circles of influence in the city of Wheeling. His scheme allegedly did not just involve the more than 20 investors and multiple employees, but also government officials. Ihlenfeld said Morris would host lunches and dinners to have conversations with such officials.

“He knew who the movers and shakers were and he introduced himself to those people,” Ihlenfeld said.

Morris was arrested and charged earlier this month on one count of wire fraud. Ihlenfeld said they heard that Morris was plotting to leave the country, and that’s when they acted to file a criminal complaint and hold him accountable.

“We didn’t plan to proceed by criminal complaint earlier this month,” Ihlenfeld said. “When we learned that he might be leaving the country, we put together a criminal complaint, charged him, had him arrested, and had him appear before a United States Magistrate Judge.”

According to Ihlenfeld, Morris also had to surrender his passport and he has certain travel restrictions.

Ihlenfeld, along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Jarod Douglas, are prosecuting the case which was investigated by the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service-CI.

Morris is currently out on supervised release.

A jury trial is scheduled for November 14 at 9:00 a.m.

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Huntington man arrested in stabbing incident

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Huntington Police have arrested and charged a man with one felony count of malicious wounding following an early morning stabbing.

Officers were called to the Huntington City Mission at around 7:40 a.m. Wednesday.

The stabbing allegedly stemmed from an altercation between two men. The victim, a 40-year-old man from Jamaica, New York, sustained non-life threatening injuries after enduring a stab wound to the shoulder with a box-cutter.

Police identified the suspect as Jeremy Smith, 42, of Huntington. Smith was arrested at the scene and is currently being held at the Western Regional Jail.

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Some WVU students learn teach-out guidelines

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Foreign language majors at West Virginia University are learning via email how the teach-out process will be administered.

The World Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics (WLLL) is being eliminated as part of WVU’s academic transformation. The WVU Board of Governors voted earlier this month to eliminate approximately 130 programs and more than 140 faculty positions.

When the teach-out is complete in foreign languages, only classes in Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, and French will remain, but WVU officials have said they are working to develop a partnership with another Big 12 school to offer more in-depth opportunities.

Students will no longer be able to declare majors in any language.

Current students with primary majors in WLLL with 60 credit hours by the end of the fall 2023 semester are the only students with a guaranteed teach-out. Minor or secondary major students are not guaranteed a teach-out but may still pursue WLLL classes as they are available.

Students with declared majors in Chinese or Spanish by or before the fall of 2023 will be given the opportunity to finish their degree work. Students with majors in German Studies or Russian Studies declared by or before the fall 2023 semester will be eligible for the teach out if they have or are pursuing the 60 credit hour mark. These students must also complete a minimum of 30 major credits, including their capstone, by December 2024, or the major will be removed.

Minor students in Arabic Studies, Chinese Studies, French, or Spanish will be allowed to complete work at their own pace. Those with minors in German Studies, Latin American Studies, Russian Studies, Linguistics, Foreign Literature in Translation, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and Slavic and East European Studies must submit their minor course work by December 15, 2024, or the work will be removed from their records. Because there are no Japanese program faculty members, incomplete Japanese Studies minor students’ records will be removed prior to registration in October.

At the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, the foreign language requirement will be removed as a degree requirement and removed from the 2024–25 course catalog. The number of general electives required for these students will also be adjusted by the Registrar’s Office.

The WVU Faculty Senate will hold its next meeting on Oct. 9 at 3:15 p.m. at the College of Law.

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Silver Alert issued for man last known to be in Raleigh County

RALEIGH COUNTY, W.Va. — West Virginia State Police (WVSP) said a man who suffers from Alzheimer’s drove off without his daughter after making a stop in Raleigh County.

On Wednesday, William Heilman was traveling south on Interstate 77. He and his daughter were on their way to Florida from New York.

Troopers said that Heilman stopped at the Tamarack in Raleigh County and then took off in an unknown direction without his daughter. WVSP said Heilman may be in route back to his home in Chaffee, New York.

The vehicle is a 2023 maroon-colored Chevrolet Equinox with a New York registration of KVL 2136.

Troopers are actively searching for Heilman and the vehicle along I-77 and in adjacent area.

If someone finds or knows the whereabouts of Heilman, they are asked to contact the West Virginia State Police Troop 7 dispatch at (304) 926-1908.

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WVU to retire Chuck Howley’s No. 66 in November

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Pro Football Hall of Fame Member and five-sport WVU letterman Chuck Howley will have his No. 66 formally retired by his alma mater on November 4. The ceremony will coincide with West Virginia’s home football game against BYU. An on-field ceremony with Howley’s son, Scott, is planned.

Unveiling the bust of Chuck Howley are his son Scott Howley (left) and presenter Bob Lilly, a former Cowboys teammate, at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023, in Canton.

Howley was formally inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August. He will be the sixth former WVU football player to have his number retired. That group includes Major Harris (9), Ira “Rat” Rodgers (21), Sam Huff (75), Bruce Bosley (77) and Darryl Talley (90).

Offensive lineman Ja’Quay Hubbard currently wears No. 66 and will be the final Mountaineer to wear that number.

In addition to his prowess on the gridiron at WVU, Howley earned varsity letters in track, swimming, men’s gymnastics and wrestling.

Howley played guard and center in his three varsity seasons at WVU [1955-1957], Howley was selected as the seventh pick in the 1958 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears.

After sustaining a serious injury in training camp for the 1959 season, Howley did not return to the field until 1961. He played 13 seasons at linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys. Howley was selected to six Pro Bowls and earned First Team All-Pro honors five times. He is a member of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor. Howley earned Super Bowl V MVP honors and became a Super Bowl champion a year later.

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Kellogg looking for returning players to step up, newcomers to fit in as he prepares for first season

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — For the third time in as many seasons, West Virginia’s women’s basketball program is adjusting to a new head coach.

Less than six weeks remain before the Mark Kellogg era begins for the Mountaineers, who will begin regular season play November 6 by playing host to Loyola Maryland.

Following a successful eight seasons at Stephen F. Austin, Kellogg was hired by WVU in April and wasted no time getting to work. 

The abrupt departure of Dawn Plitzuweit, who left the Mountaineers following one season to be head coach at Minnesota, left Kellogg with six holdovers on the roster. Each of the six — JJ Quinerly, Jayla Hemingway, Kyah Watson, Kylee Blacksten, Tavy Diggs and Messiah Hunter has since chosen to remain at West Virginia.

“Being the third coach in three years isn’t an ideal situation, but I’ve been really pleased with that group of six,” Kellogg said. “They have been fantastic since I’ve been here. Great kids and they come from great families; easy to coach. It’s been seamless. This is my fifth job that I’ve taken over and this has been the easiest transition of any of them.”

The Mountaineers won 19 games and qualified for the NCAA Tournament during Plitzuweit’s lone season in Morgantown. While point guard Madisen Smith is gone from that team, Quinerly, Hemingway, Watson and Blacksten each started at least 30 games, allowing Kellogg the luxury of returning an experienced and proven group.

Quinerly, a 5-foot-8 junior guard, has made a major impact in two seasons with the Mountaineers. She began her career playing for then-head coach Mike Carey and averaged 8.8 points, 2.7 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 2.3 steals to earn a spot on the Big 12 Conference All-Freshman Team.

Mar 10, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers guard JJ Quinerly (11) dives after the ball against Oklahoma State Cowgirls guard Naomie Alnatas (3) during the first half at Municipal Auditorium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

A season ago, Quinerly started all 31 games and was the team’s leading scorer with an average of 14.5 points. Quinerly upped her rebounding average to 4.2 and again recorded better than two assists and two steals on average. She was named to the All-Big 12 team as well as the league’s all-defensive team.

“It’s a roster of six returners and seven newcomers. We’re going to rely on those veterans probably quite a bit, but we definitely need some of the newcomers to step up,” Kellogg said. “But there’s a lot of players that have done it and had success. Of course, it starts with JJ Quinerly. An All-Big 12 kid and I think she’s going to have a better year this year than she’s had. I’ve kind of challenged all of the returners. They need to be the best version of themselves this year for us to achieve the things we want to achieve and that will start with JJ, but I think she’s in a pretty good spot.”

Kellogg says Quinerly will be utilized as a point guard and off the ball, though regardless of her position, she’s sure to be a focal point of the opposition’s game plan. The head coach met with each player on the the WVU roster recently to discuss “tangible on court goals.”

According to Kellogg, Quinerly didn’t hold back.

“She really has some goals — legit goals to go down as one of the greatest players in the school’s history, and it’s really important for her to achieve those things,” Kellogg said. “She can do those. When we put the press in the other day, she was like, ‘coach you’re going to let me press right?’ I was like, ‘yeah, we’re going to get after it.’ One of her goals is to be the all-time steals leaders here. She was pretty open about that.”

Quinerly enters her junior campaign with 134 steals and is 221 shy of Talisha’ Hargis’ school record. Kellogg expects her total to increase from the 68 and 66 she had in her first two collegiate seasons.

“Us pressing and playing the way that we do will probably allow her to get a few more steals,” Kellogg said. “It’s just me painting a picture and a vision and hoping these kids buy into that, which they have done. JJ has been right at the front of it.”

Hemingway was the team’s leading rebounder last season with an average of 5.9, followed closely by Watson at 5.1. However, the Mountaineers were out-rebounded on average by 4.6 boards per game, something not lost on Kellogg.

“We weren’t a great rebounding team last year, so that’s still a weakness to me,” Kellogg said. “We’ll have to address that. We tried to address it a little bit through recruiting. I don’t know if we got it all done, but I think we’ll be a little better rebounding, but we may not be a great rebounding team.”

The 6-foot-3 Blacksten and Diggs, who stands 6-1, also seek to improve their rebounding outputs after the duo accounted for an average of 5.6 boards during their first season at West Virginia.

Diggs, a TCU transfer, is capable of more all-around production after averaging 2.2 points and 2.5 rebounds. In two seasons prior with the Horned Frogs, Diggs averaged 6 and 9.6 points, respectively.

“I told them all summer, ‘show me whatever you have. Be the best version of you.’ Tavy Diggs, for instance, played at TCU and averaged six or eight points and 6.5 rebounds in the Big 12,” Kellogg said. “I was like Tavy, ‘let me see that version of you. Not the West Virginia version of you a year ago. That wasn’t good enough, but I know it’s in there.’”

For as much production as the Mountaineers return, Kellogg believes it will be imperative for the team’s newcomers to be contributors. The seven new additions to the program are: Danelle Arigbabu (6-4 forward); Lauren Fields (5-9 guard); Jordan Harrison (5-6 guard); Ainhoa Holzer (5-9 guard); Tirzah Moore (6-foot guard); Ashala Moseberry (5-10 guard); and Zya Nugent (5-7 guard).

Nugent, like Harrison, followed Kellogg from Stephen F. Austin to Morgantown, though she will miss this season with a knee injury that also held her out last year. 

Holzer and Moseberry are still awaiting word from the NCAA as to whether waivers requesting immediate eligibility this season will be accepted.

Holzer was a redshirt at Purdue last season after suffering an injury in her final game of the 2021-22 Swiss Basketball League regular season. Moseberry comes to WVU from South Plains, a junior college in Texas. She was originally signed to play at BYU before instead settling on the Mountaineers.

“They would absolutely help on the depth. I have no idea. I know kind of where we’re at in the process and Ashala’s is a little ahead of Ainhoa’s as in we may hear sooner,” Kellogg said. “If you can figure out what the NCAA’s decisions are going to be, you let me know. I have no idea. They’re harder to get now. Just in the last year, they’ve become way more difficult to get through. 

“I guess in my mind I’m preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. So if they don’t get them, that’s a roster of 10 for us, and if they do go through, then obviously that considerably helps the depth.”

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Charleston City Council aiming for PODA ordinance allowing for to-go outdoor alcohol in designated areas

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — After Huntington became the first West Virginia city allowing alcohol to be served to-go in certain areas outdoors, Charleston is now also trying to get on board with the move.

Legislation known as PODA, or Private Outdoor Designated Areas for alcoholic beverages to be consumed was passed in West Virginia earlier this year, and earlier this month, the State Alcohol Beverage Control Administration approved the permit for two bars in Huntington.

Now, Ward 20 Charleston City Council member Chad Robinson came on WCHS Radio’s 580 LIVE Wednesday to announce the newly composed bill by the council to allow the same permit to come to the Capitol City, as well as where the target locations for PODA would be if passed.

“This is something important for our downtown businesses,” Robinson said on 580 LIVE Wednesday. “Not only for our downtown businesses, but the PODAs that are drafted in the current bill are City Center Slack Plaza, Elk City, Bridge Road, and the Capitol Market.”

Chad Robinson

Along with enforcing patrons to stay in the designated areas with their alcoholic drinks at the four proposed locations, the ordinance would also require them to purchase a designated plastic cup at the bars of these locations to drink it out of, which Robinson said would either be color-coordinated or have a PODA logo on it.

Robinson said signage will be posted on all entries and exits of the PODAs explaining the precise guidelines.

He gave an example of how this would look here in downtown Charleston on perhaps a typical Friday night.

“You’d go into say, Fife Street, buy an alcoholic beverage in a designated cup, all of those restaurants or bars will have designated cups that you purchase, walk down Fife Street, the ally, enjoy your adult beverage, walk into Adelphia, have another drink,” he explained.

Robinson said it’s a bipartisan bill which has gotten support from both the House and Senate, as well as the majority of council members and the community, as a whole.

“I’ve had nothing but positive comments, I may have received one negative, but it wasn’t really negative, it was more, ‘hey, Chad, look at this,” Robinson said.

He said downtown bars and restaurants have also been greatly in support of the ordinance as they believe it would only enhance their businesses.

“It’s good for our businesses, it’s something that gives them an option to work together to build more customer-base downtown,” said Robinson.

Robinson said he and some other council members will meet with downtown restaurants and businesses tomorrow, Thursday, September 28 at 9 a.m. at Adelphia Sports Bar to discuss the proposed ordinance further and make any necessary changes that work with them.

On Monday, October 2 they will meet with the full council to take up that drafted ordinance.

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Lottery Commission hands down civil penalty in connection with sports betting promotions

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Lottery Commission handed down a $7,000 civil penalty on a sports gaming company Wednesday for contacting potential players by email who had previously self-excluded themselves from receiving the promotional information.

John Myers

Gamewise, who operates mobile and online sports betting for Wheeling Island Casino owner Delaware North, self-reported the marketing mistake to the West Virginia Lottery in late August. Gamewise Team Leader Todd San Jule told the commission Wednesday those who received the email by mistake weren’t able to wager.

“We apologize to the Lottery,” he said. “We’ve put right measures in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

The commission decided to fine Gamewise $100 for each of the 70 who were contacted.

State Lottery Director John Myers told MetroNews Gamewise did self-report but it took the company a while to notice the problem.

“It was 45 days before they found out, so we kind of frown on that as well,” Myers said.

Todd San Jule

The Lottery Commission is allowed to fine companies up to $50,000 for code violations.

Myers said the law is in place for a reason.

“While it was a programming error–it wasn’t something they did intentionally–we need to show that West Virginia takes those types of things seriously. Because if people have a gaming problem we want to make sure they are protected,” Myers said.

San Jule said the violation was his company’s first.

“It’s a reputational hit,” he said. “We take responsibility.”

Racetrack casinos relicensing

The Lottery Commission also gave final approval Wednesday to the annual relicensing of the racetrack casinos at Charles Town, Chester, Wheeling and Nitro. Myers said the financial information for all four facilities is solid. He said they continue to face competition from other states for gambling dollars.

“It comes in cycles,” Myers said. “Last year was actually a good year but we’re running a little bit behind and sales are a little softer in the casinos and the LVLs (Limited Video Lottery locations) this (fiscal) year but our traditional sales are up.”

Overall lottery revenue for August was just short of $111 million including approximately $25 million in traditional sales and about $40 million each in Racetrack and Limited video lottery.

Powerball growing

The Powerball jackpot continued to grow ahead of Wednesday night’s drawing.

It was up to $850 million by Wednesday afternoon, the fourth highest jackpot in Powerball history.

Myers said the jackpots are growing larger more often due to adding an additional drawing a week.

“That’s starting to make these increase faster,” he said. “That third day a week drawing has really made a difference at how fast the jackpot grows.”

The next Lottery Commission meeting is set for Oct. 25 in Charleston.

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WVSSAC Golf State Championship begins Tuesday

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Jones Course at Oglebay Resort in Wheeling will once again serve as host of the WVSSAC Golf State Championships. The 36-hole event will be played October 3-4.

Regional champions and runner-up teams qualified and eight additional individual qualifiers from each class make up the tournament field.

Wheeling Central Catholic (Class A) is the lone defending champion to qualify for the tournament. Keyser’s Noah Broadwater (Class AA) is the lone defending individual champion in the field.

Tee times and the live leaderboard can be viewed here.

Class AAA qualifying teams:

  • Morgantown (Region I)
  • University (Region I)
  • Martinsburg (Region II)
  • Washington (Region II)
  • Greenbrier East (Region III)
  • Woodrow Wilson (Region III)
  • Cabell Midland (Region IV)
  • Hurricane (Region IV)

Class AA qualifying teams:

  • Fairmont Senior (Region I)
  • Grafton (Region I)
  • Elkins (Region II)
  • Roane County (Region II)
  • Nicholas County (Region III)
  • Shady Spring (Region III)
  • Nitro (Region IV)
  • Winfield (Region IV)

Class A qualifying teams:

  • St. Marys (Region I)
  • Wheeling Central Catholic (Region I)
  • East Hardy (Region II)
  • Petersburg (Region II)
  • Charleston Catholic (Region III)
  • Summers County (Region III)
  • Gilmer County (Region IV)
  • Wahama (Region IV)


Class AAA qualifying individuals:

  • Adam Arndt (Hedgesville)
  • Cam Fallon (Parkersburg South)
  • Jayce Feazelle (St. Albans)
  • Nate Kelly (Jefferson)
  • Campbell Koegler (Wheeling Park)
  • Andrew Pennybacker (Wheeling Park)
  • Parker Vannoy (Parkersburg South)
  • Lee Willard (George Washington)

Class AA qualifying individuals:

  • Jacob Brannon (Robert C. Byrd)
  • Noah Broadwater (Keyser)
  • Kerri-Anne Cook (Westside)
  • Camden Deeb (Bluefield)
  • Blake Hunt (East Fairmont)
  • Justus Mann (Chapmanville)
  • Bronson Shepard (Point Pleasant)
  • Scott Underwood (Lewis County)

Class A qualifying individuals:

  • Andrew Addair (River View)
  • Will Barniak (Williamstown)
  • Landon Bennett (Calhoun County)
  • Rocky Frye (Montcalm)
  • Kelen Lucas (Ravenswood)
  • Caleb Sutton (Doddridge County)
  • Ryan Weekley (Ritchie County)
  • James Williams (Moorefield)

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Lawsuit over Trump’s ballot access in West Virginia draws fire, fire and more fire

Republican political figures in West Virginia are distressed over a federal lawsuit filed by a longshot presidential candidate aiming to keep former President Donald Trump off ballots on constitutional grounds that insurrectionist activity disqualifies him.

The legal concept is a swirling, high-minded debate about a constitutional issue dating back to the Reconstruction era.

The plaintiff is obscure.

Donald Trump

And the Republican response to the lawsuit resulted in a press release frenzy. Several issued statements blasting the lawsuit as an effort to deprive Trump’s 2024 presidential ballot access in West Virginia, where he remains very popular. None directly addressed the constitutional eligibility question related to insurrection activities.

The lawsuit was filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, along with parallel efforts in other states. The man who filed it, John Anthony Castro, is a write-in Republican presidential candidate from Texas.

The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Irene Berger, and it has been referred to U.S. Magistrate Judge Omar Aboulhosn. The West Virginia Republican Party has filed to intervene in the case. Castro is serving as his own attorney and has filed for a temporary restraining order and an expedited preliminary injunction.

“The entire nation knows that Defendant Donald John Trump provided aid and comfort to the January 6th Insurrection,” Castro wrote in one of the filings. “The only remaining question is whether the federal judiciary has the courage to do the right thing. All evil needs in order to prevail is for good men and women to do nothing.”

The concept in the lawsuit is that Article 3 of the 14th Amendment disqualifies federal officeholders who “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” The amendment was passed in 1868 as a Civil War response.

The possibility of applying that to Trump gained steam after a pair of conservative legal scholars affiliated with the Federalist Society — William Baude of the University of Chicago and Michael Stokes Paulsen of the University of St. Thomas — endorsed the theory in the New York Times. 

Laurence Tribe, a liberal constitutional scholar at Harvard Law School, and retired conservative judge J. Michael Luttig then joined forces in a magazine piece, “The Constitution prohibits Trump from ever being president again.”

The legal scholars contend the constitutional disqualification is self-executing and requires no legislation, criminal conviction, or other judicial action.

Still, as the concept has been discussed nationally, questions have persisted over how that would work in practice.

Castro has filed suit in states  including New Hampshire, Florida, Utah, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. The version in West Virginia names Trump as a defendant, along with Secretary of State Mac Warner in his official capacity as West Virginia’s chief elections officer.

Mac Warner

Warner, who is a current candidate for governor, issued a statement this afternoon objecting to the grounds of the lawsuit.

“Every eligible candidate, including Donald Trump, has the constitutional right to have their name on West Virginia’s Primary Election ballot unless legally disqualified,” Warner stated.

“Seeking to remove voters’ opportunity to nominate a candidate to be the next President of the United States is not to be taken lightly. As West Virginia’s chief election official, every eligible candidate and registered voter can trust that I will follow and enforce the Constitution.”

The lawsuit includes several paragraphs meant to demonstrate Trump’s connection with insurrection activity following the 2020 presidential election, including a statement in a debate to the Proud Boys group to “stand back and stand by,” a videotaped statement following the Jan. 6 riots that “we love you; you’re very special” and a more recent statement by Trump indicating willingness to pardon people convicted in the Capitol riots.

John Castro

Castro is a tax consultant who has run for office several times unsuccessfully. He ran as a Democrat in 2004 for a county court of commissioners position in Texas, finishing fifth of five. He ran as a Republican in 2020 for U.S. Senate from Texas, finishing fourth in a primary behind incumbent John Cornyn. Then in 2021, he ran as a Republican in a special election for House of Representatives, coming nowhere close to winning.

Castro was involved in a controversy as a Georgetown law student and later as an employer where Georgetown University Law Center’s job fair banned him over “deliberate misrepresentations on his resume.” The allegation was that he claimed to have graduated from West Point when he actually had dropped out of a related prep school instead.

He says he wants to be on the ballot in West Virginia and other states and claims Trump is inappropriately drawing away potential votes.

Many West Virginia Republicans were very upset about his federal court filing against Trump.

Elgine McArdle

“This legal challenge is the latest assault on President Trump, his campaign, and his supporters,” stated West Virginia Republican Party Chairwoman Elgine McArdle in a press release.

“Voters in West Virginia and across the country deserve the opportunity to vote for their choice for president, whether the establishment and leftist jurists like it or not. What we’re seeing take place is shameful and wrong — but we will proudly enter into this litigation to deliver a victory for President Trump, our voters, and the rule of law.”

Alex Mooney

Congressman Alex Mooney, a Republican who is running for U.S. Senate, blamed the lawsuit on Democrats even though Castro has run several times as a Republican.

“Democrats will do anything to get ahead, even change election rules,” Mooney wrote on the social media site now known as X. “@realDonaldTrump will be on West Virginians’ ballots in 2024 because he’s the only one who will put our country on the right path. Democrats can keep cheating, we will hold them accountable and remind them that rules apply to liberals even though they ignore them.”

State Treasurer Riley Moore, a Republican who is running for Congress, also jumped in.

Riley Moore

“The attempt by out-of-state liberals to remove President Trump from the ballot in West Virginia is not only pathetic, it is an insult to hard-working West Virginians,” Moore stated in a press release. “We have the right to decide who we will support next November. And it’s obvious we are going to once again support President Trump in overwhelming numbers.”

Carol Miller

Incumbent Congresswoman Carol Miller, another Republican, issued a statement decrying “obvious obstruction of justice by Democrats across the United States.

“Democrats are terrified of having a candidate who will represent the American people, not Washington politicians. This latest attempt to strip West Virginians of their right to vote for who they want for president is shameful and I will not stand for it.”

Chris Miller, her son and an auto dealer who is running in the Republican primary for governor, appeared on radio today and blasted the lawsuit.

“The reason I’m calling is to talk about what real election interference is,” Miller said on “580 Live” on WCHS Radio.

Chris Miller

“I’m sure you’ve seen by now this lawsuit that was filed in West Virginia by this crazy group of liberal people. They are literally trying to kick Donald Trump off of the ballot. And they’re doing this all around the country. It started in Texas.”

Miller continued, “I’m pretty confident that it’s not going to work in West Virginia. The question is, does it work anywhere else around the country?”

Attorney General candidate Ryan Weld, currently a Republican state senator from Brooke County, questioned the credibility of the man who filed the lawsuit.

Ryan Weld

“Castro is nothing but a fraud who believes that a West Virginia judge wouldn’t be smart enough to see through his attention-seeking scam,” Weld said in a press release.

Mike Stuart

Another candidate for Attorney General, Mike Stuart, also issued a press release opposing the lawsuit about Trump, calling the effort “anti-American and anti-democratic.”

“If successful, these terrible efforts will further divide the nation and create irreparable damage to the country,” stated Stuart, a Republican state senator from Kanawha County and a former campaign chairman for Trump in West Virginia.

“This is clear and transparent attempt to steal the 2024 election because they cannot beat him.  I condemn these efforts.  If they want to defeat President Trump and his America First agenda, they should beat him at the ballot box — not by abusive actions in the courts.”

J.B. McCuskey

Yet another Attorney General candidate, J.B. McCuskey, also released a statement critical of the lawsuit and maintaining Trump deserves to be on ballots. McCuskey is a Republican from Kanawha County who currently serves as state Auditor.

“West Virginia is Trump country and supports President Trump in his bid to return to the White House,” McCuskey stated on social media.

“To prevent him from appearing on the ballot, the Left has filed a lawsuit in West Virginia so you cannot vote for him.”

The post Lawsuit over Trump’s ballot access in West Virginia draws fire, fire and more fire appeared first on WV MetroNews.

Source: WV MetroNews