Criminal Justice

Ex-probation officer to get 5 years in cocaine case ... unless he supplied drug that killed judge

A federal judge has OK’d a plea deal in which a former St. Clair County, Ill., probation officer is to get five years in a court-related drug case after pleading guilty Wednesday to intent to distribute cocaine and felon in possession of a firearm charges.

But that deal is off if defendant James K. Fogarty, 46, supplied the fatal drug dose that killed St. Clair County Associate Judge Joseph Christ on March 10, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“If your involvement in this case was such that your delivery of drugs resulted in the death or bodily injury of Mr. Christ, I won’t accept the 60 months,” said U.S. District Judge Michael J. Reagan in a Wednesday hearing in the East St. Louis case. “I have to be assured that there was no connection between the drugs’ delivery and Mr. Christ’s death.

An investigation is ongoing into whether there is a connection between Fogarty’s admitted drug sales to Christ and the judge’s death, U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton told the newspaper after the hearing.

Former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook, who is charged in a misdemeanor heroin-possession case, is expected to change his previous not-guilty plea at a Friday court hearing, an earlier St. Louis Post-Dispatch story reported. Christ was a friend of Cook’s and died at his hunting lodge.

See also: “‘Wide open’ probe ongoing into alleged sale of coke ‘eight-ball’ to 2 judges by probation officer” “Anguish of judge in 911 tape who can’t revive unconscious colleague echos emotion of court onlookers” “2nd convicted murderer wins retrial due to drug case now faced by presiding judge”

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