EAST ST. LOUIS, IL (KTVI)-- Former Judge Michael Cook changed his plea Friday. Cook now says that he did possess heroin and a handgun this Spring.
It's another major chapter in the St. Clair County judge drug scandal - a saga that began when we learned the late Judge Joe Christ died from a cocaine overdose. Friday, his friend and former colleague admitted his part in the drug scandal.
Michael Cook walked calmly into Federal Court. He's now out of drug rehab and waiting to hear whether a Judge will accept his plea deal. In the deal, Cook agreed to serve 18 months in prison. In the courtroom, Cook admitted he`s an addict and that he bought heroin from a drug dealer in May, while he was carrying a gun. He`s not ready to talk.
When walking into court, Fox 2's Chris Hayes asked him, "Were you high when you were on the bench?"
Hayes followed up, 'What do you have to say to Joe Christ`s family?'
He walked away.
After court, media swarmed Cook. He still would not talk. Even one of his attorneys, Thomas Keefe Jr. would not talk about what happened. But this question Hayes asked seemed to get his attention - "What about the bigger message, though, to people struggling with this addiction."
Keefe responded, "My friend, if you don't have addiction in your family, then maybe you should go ask somebody who has it in their family."
The judge will sentence Cook in January. The maximum prison time in this case is 11 years, but the Federal sentencing guidelines are that he serves up to 6 months (partly because Cook`s lack of a criminal history).
Again, Cook's agreed to 18 months, which he`ll serve if the Judge signs off in January.
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