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State

Ex-Ill. judge to be sentenced in heroin, gun case

EAST ST. LOUIS – A disgraced southwestern Illinois judge at the center of a courthouse drug scandal involving the cocaine death of a prosecutor-turned-judge is about to be sentenced.

Former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis. That's where he pleaded guilty in November to heroin and gun charges.

Cook had negotiated an 18-month sentence as part of a plea deal. But it's possible the federal judge assigned to the case, Joe Billy McDade, may depart from that.

Cook resigned from the bench last May, after his legal troubles surfaced after Joe Christ died of a cocaine overdose while with Cook at a hunting cabin. Christ was a former St. Clair County prosecutor and newly sworn-in judge.

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