(KTVI) - A growing narcotics scandal in St. Clair County Circuit Court, now involves a drug court judge charged with possession of heroin, another judge dying from taking too much cocaine, and a probation office employee charged with selling both judges their drugs.
The latest developments happened Friday at the federal courthouse in East St. Louis. Judge Michael Cook found himself on the other side of the bench, waiving an indictment and pleading not guilty to two federal drug charges, the first, Possession of Heroin, and the second, Unlawful User of a Controlled Substance in Possession of Firearms.
The story began unfolding Wednesday night after Judge Cook, who presides over a drug court in St. Clair County, was arrested by DEA agents outside the residence of Sean McGilvery, who lives in the 300 block of North 38th Street in Belleville.
McGilvery was also arrested that night and charged with Conspiracy to Distribute and Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin. The criminal complaint says he possessed more than a kilo of heroin at the time of his arrest.
McGilvery will make his initial court appearance on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Judge Cook was released after his hearing on a $10,000 appearance bond, but as a condition of that release may have to go through drug treatment while awaiting trial.
But there is more to the story.
This week, the coroner in Pike County, Illinois rules that another St. Clair County Judge, Joe Christ, died from Cocaine Intoxication on March 10 at a cabin in the town of Pleasant Hill. The person who found Judge Christ`s body was Judge Cook who was 'the only other person on the property at the time of the incident,' according to a press release from the coroner`s office.
Friday afternoon, U.S. Attorney Steven Wigginton charged James K. Fogarty with Distribution and Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine.
An FBI affidavit in the case alleges Forgarty sold cocaine to both Judge Cook and Judge Christ the day before they went to the cabin where Christ died.
Wigginton did not return calls seeking comment.
In court Friday morning, Judge Cook appeared in shorts and a t-shirt believed to be the clothes he was wearing when he was arrested.
A slogan printed on his shirt read, 'bad is my middle name.'
Cook`s trial date is tentatively set for July 15.
Friend me on Facebook: facebook.com/PaulSchankmanTV
Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/PaulSchankmantv
Email me: Paul.Schankman@tvstl.com