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Liberian lawmaker demands legislative inquiry over American’s acquittal

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Liberian lawmaker demands legislative inquiry over American’s acquittal

Verdict: Misleading. DUBAWA’s checks have revealed that the legislator, Briggs-Mensah, first demanded a legislative inquiry, after which a possible impeachment may kick in if the judge who acquitted the American in the attempted murder trial is found guilty of wrongdoing.

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A Facebook user claimed that Representative Moima Briggs-Mensah wrote to the lawmaking body to impeach the presiding judge of Criminal Court ‘B’ Judge Nelson Chinned, because he acquitted an American, Lucas Richards, at the end of a murder trial.

Lucas Richards was arrested and charged with the attempted murder of his Liberian wife, Jessica Lloyd, in Sept. 2023. He was arraigned before Criminal Court ‘B’ presided over by Judge Nelson B. Chineh, and after nearly seven months of trial, he was found not guilty and acquitted by the judge.

The Facebook user taking to his wall on Apr. 18, 2024, wrote:

“Breaking news! Criminal Court ‘B’ Judge to be impeached! Representative Moima Briggs-Mensah has written a communication to plenary to impeach Judge Nelson B. Chineh because his recent Not-Guilty verdict in favour of American citizen Lucas Richards against a Liberian citizen, Jessica Lloyd, brought total disgrace to the entire country’s justice system. Congratulations [to a] serious lawmaker. This will serve as a deterrent to prevent reoccurrence.”

The piece suggested there would be an impeachment without any form of investigation.

Data available on Facebook shows that the post received 351 comments, 528 likes, and 116 shares.

DUBAWA decided to fact-check the post as part of its campaign against misinformation and disinformation in Liberia.


Representative Briggs-Mensah has told DUBAWA that her communication with lawmakers was to call for a legislative inquiry into circumstances leading to the judge’s not-guilty verdict.

“No, the communication is to seek inquiry/investigation,” she told DUBAWA when contacted. However, she said, “If it is established that the process was corrupt or manipulated by bribery, we could institute an initial impeachment proceeding [into the matter].”

The lawmaker maintained that: “we are still investigating and encouraging people that have facts to make available those facts to ensure justice is served.”

Also, a Google keyword search conducted by DUBAWA into the matter showed the legislator did not call for an immediate impeachment of Judge Nelson but rather a legislative inquiry.

The New Dawn Liberia reported on Apr. 19, 2024, that:

“Bong County District #6 Representative Moima Briggs Mensah has written to members of the House of Representatives seeking a legislative inquiry into the case involving an American missionary, Lucas Richards, and his Liberian fiancé, Jessica Llyod.”

“Speaking before the full plenary on Thursday, April 18, 2024, she told her colleagues that it was time to investigate the matter further and bring those responsible to the plenary to ask them more questions to understand what went wrong,” the media organisation reported.

Another media organisation, Media Talk Africa, reported on Apr. 20, 2024, 

“A recent court ruling in Liberia has sparked outrage and calls for further investigation by lawmakers. Bong County District #6 Representative Moima Briggs Mensah has taken action, urging her colleagues in the House of Representatives to conduct a legislative inquiry into a case involving an American missionary, Lucas Richards, and his Liberian fiancé, Jessica Lloyd.”

Also, the Monrovia-based Daily Observer reported that:

“The Representative of Bong County District #6, Moima Briggs Mensah, has asked the Plenary of the House of Representatives to impeach Criminal Court ‘B’ Judge Nelson B. Chineh for bringing the Judiciary and the entire Government of Liberia into disrepute, following his acquittal of the American Missionary, Lucas Richards who was on trial for the attempted murder of his Liberian wife, Jessica Lloyd.”

DUBAWA also contacted the Director of Press and Public Affairs at the House of Representatives, Robert Haynes, who said the impeachment of  Judge Nelson Chinneh is not in the jurisdiction of the House.

He further provided a copy of the communication written by Representative Moima Briggs Mensah.

Liberian lawmaker demands legislative inquiry over American’s acquittal

A screenshot of the letter written by the Liberian lawmaker Briggs-Mensah

DUBAWA later contacted the Facebook user about the source of the claim, but he has yet to respond to our inquiries.


It is evident on the face of the letter from the House of Representatives that Representative Briggs-Mensah first called for a legislative inquiry. As a consequence, she only hinted at possible impeachment if Judge Nelson B. Chineh is found culpable for acquitting Lucas Richards, the American missionary involved in the murder trial. Therefore, the claim about calling for the impeachment of Judge Nelson B. Chiney is not true.

The researcher produced this fact-check per the DUBAWA 2024 Kwame Karikari Fellowship, in partnership with Prime FM 105.5 Liberia, to facilitate the spirit of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy.

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