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State

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

FILE - In this Nov. 8, 2013 file photo, former St. Clair County Judge Michael Cook walks past reporters outside U.S. District Court in East St. Louis, Ill. Cook, a former judge at the center of a courthouse drug scandal involving the cocaine death of a prosecutor-turned-judge is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 26, 2014, in East St. Louis, where he pleaded guilty in November to heroin and gun charges. (AP Photo/Belleville News-Democrat, Derik Holtmann, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 8, 2013 file photo, former St. Clair County Judge Michael Cook walks past reporters outside U.S. District Court in East St. Louis, Ill. Cook, a former judge at the center of a courthouse drug scandal involving the cocaine death of a prosecutor-turned-judge is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 26, 2014, in East St. Louis, where he pleaded guilty in November to heroin and gun charges. (AP Photo/Belleville News-Democrat, Derik Holtmann, File)

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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