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   The former metro-east judge at the center of a courthouse drug scandal could learn his punishment today on federal gun and heroin charges.  

   Last month U.S. District Judge Joe Billy McDade rejected a plea deal with former St. Clair County judge Michael Cook. McDade had called the proposed 18 month prison term too lenient. The judge delayed proceedings until today to give both sides time to negotiate a stiffer prison sentence for him to consider.  

   At a 10:30 a.m. hearing, McDade could hand down that sentence  -- if the two sides came to terms and if McDade finds the sentence stiff enough.  

   Cook still has the right to withdraw his November guilty plea and request a trial.

Published in Local News
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois man is scheduled to be sentenced for his role in a drug-trafficking ring prosecutors say also involved a judge who later resigned after being accused of heroin possession.
Sean McGilvery pleaded guilty in October to felony heroin conspiracy and possession charges in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis. That's where he's set to be sentenced Thursday.
Federal prosecutors say former St. Clair County judge Michael Cook was one of McGilvery's regular customers while he was on the bench.
Cook was arrested last year as part of an investigation that also focused on the cocaine-related death of a prosecutor-turned-judge at the Cook family's hunting cabin.
Cook has pleaded guilty to federal heroin and weapons possession counts. He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 26.
Published in Local News

   There's more fallout from the St. Clair County Courts scandal.

   A metro-east man who was supposed to be sentenced on a murder conviction yesterday is instead getting a new trial.  

    Twenty-nine-year-old William Cosby had been convicted in April of shooting a man to death outside an East St. Louis nightclub.  

   Yesterday, St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert Haida ordered a new trial.  The problem?  Cosby's trial judge had been Michael Cook, who is now facing drug and weapons charges.  

   Cosby's attorneys argued that it had been unfair that prosecutors had known Cook was being investigated and the defense had not.  Judge Haida agreed.  

   Cosby remains in the St. Clair County Jail on a million dollar bond while he awaits that new trial.

Published in Local News

   After a drug scandal rocked the county courthouse, St. Clair County officials are expanding their drug testing program.  The board decided unanimously Monday night to expand the random drug testing to hundreds of additional employees.

   Ironically, the new policy won't apply to the circuit court system where the scandal broke.  That's because the courts are a separate government entity.  

   In March, Circuit Judge Joe Christ died while staying with Circuit Judge Michael Cook at a hunting lodge.  In May, Cook was charged with heroine possession and a weapons violation.  A probation officer and another man are also facing charges.  

Published in Local News

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