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Ex-Illinois judge gets 2-year term in drug scandal

Published: Friday, March 28, 2014 1:59 p.m. CDT
(AP Photo/Belleville News-Democrat, Derik Holtmann, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2014 file photo, former St. Clair County Judge Michael Cook, right, arrives at the U.S. District Courthouse in East St. Louis, Ill., with his father, Bruce Cook. Michael Cook, who is at the center of a courthouse drug scandal, is to appear Friday morning, March 28, 2014, for a scheduled sentencing at federal court in East St. Louis. Cook resigned last year after being accused of heroin possession and illegally having a firearm.

EAST ST. LOUIS — A former southwestern Illinois judge at the center of a courthouse drug scandal that included a fellow judge's cocaine death is headed to federal prison for two years.

U.S. District Judge Joe Billy McDade on Friday also fined former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook more than $75,000 on heroin and gun charges. Federal prosecutors had requested an 18-month sentence. Cook's attorney suggested a 6-month term was appropriate.

McDade last month rejected a deal between the two sides, calling an agreed-upon prison term of 18 months insufficient.

On Friday, the 43-year-old Cook entered an open plea, meaning the judge would decide his sentence.

McDade calls the two-year sentence appropriate given the negative affect on the public's confidence in the judiciary.

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