LOGAN, W.Va. — Kanawha county circuit court judge Louis “Duke” Bloom has been tapped to hear the case of the State of West Virginia vs. Johnathan Porter.
The trial will remain in Logan County.
A date for trial has reportedly not yet been set.
Logan County Judges Joshua Butcher and Judge Eric O’Briant recently removed themselves from hearing the case set to decide criminal culpability in the attack on Senator Richard Ojeda.
Chief Judge Eric O’Briant first sent an administrative order to the circuit clerk’s office January 13 saying the case should be assigned to the other judge in West Virginia’s seventh judicial circuit, Joshua Butcher.
Butcher later sent a letter to the West Virginia Supreme Court officially recusing himself from the case.
Ojeda recently made a public request for Judge Eric O’Briant to recuse himself from the case.
O’Briant’s daughter, Shana Thompson, is an assistant prosecutor in the Logan County Prosecutor’s office.
Thompson is not assigned to Ojeda’s case and will not present any cases to her father.
Ojeda previously filed a legal complaint against Thompson while she was employed by the school board over the release of his W-2 forms to a Freedom of Information Act petitioner.
Ojeda’s complaint against Thompson reportedly focuses on the alleged illegality and intrusion of privacy from releasing his W-2 forms.
The attack occurred the weekend before West Virginia’s May 10 primary at a social event in Whitman, W.Va.
While Ojeda reportedly applied a bumper sticker to Porter’s car, Porter allegedly attacked the then senate candidate and caused property damage while fleeing the scene.
Ojeda was hospitalized suffering broken facial bones and undergoing several surgeries.
Ojeda has said he believes the attack was politically motivated.
When porter was arrested, he was initially placed on $75,000 cash bail, but Porter’s bail was eventually reduced to $25,000 surety.
Porter is free while awaiting trial.
Owen Wells is a reporter for a Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 or by email at [email protected]