Disgraced ex-St. Clair County judge sentenced to 2 years

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by KMOV.com staff

KMOV.com

Posted on March 28, 2014 at 9:11 AM

Updated Saturday, Mar 29 at 12:01 AM

(KMOV) – Former St. Clair County judge Michael Cook was sentenced to serve 24 months in federal prison Friday.

Cook pleaded guilty to heroin and gun charges in Nov. and under his agreement with prosecutors he agreed to a year and a half prison sentence. But in Feb., a federal judge rejected the deal, saying it wasn’t enough hard time for the ex-judge.

In addition to the two-year sentence, Cook will be on probation for three years and have to pay a fine of $75,583; the cost of his incarceration and subsequent supervision post-release. 

Judge Joe Billy McDade said regarding his sentence there were a number of things to consider, including the number of cases Cook presided over as judge of the county drug court. McDade also looked into the amount of time Cook was using heroin before he sought treatment.

Since his arrest, several of Cook’s cases have been thrown out, overturned or have to be retried.

Cook was charged in May 2013 after being arrested in Belleville at the home of Sean McGilvery, who later pleaded guilty to dealing heroin.

Earlier that month, the county coroner said toxicology tests showed that Cook’s colleague, St. Clair County Circuit Judge Joe Christ, overdosed on cocaine while staying with Cook at the Cook family’s 2,500-square-foot cabin near the Mississippi River in western Illinois.

The 49-year-old father of six was found dead in a bathroom at the lodge near Pleasant Hill, about 65 miles from St. Louis, on March 10 - little more than a week after he was sworn in as a judge.

St. Clair County probation worker James Fogarty later told investigators he snorted cocaine with the two judges and repeatedly sold them the drug, including on the eve of the trip to the hunting cabin. Fogarty later pleaded guilty in federal court to possession with intent to distribute cocaine and unlawful possession of a firearm.

A federal judge later said he won’t accept Fogarty’s deal to serve five years in prison if testing shows the man’s drugs were the ones that killed a Christ. 

Neither Fogarty nor Cook has been charged directly in Christ’s death.

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