White-Collar Crime

Federal Judge Axes 1 Count in Drug Cover-up Case of Ex-Tenn. Jurist, Calls Proof In Others 'Slim'

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Things began to look up a little bit Monday for a disgraced former Tennessee judge accused of lying to three other judges and a prosecutor to try to conceal a prescription drug-trafficking conspiracy related to a woman with whom he was having an affair.

U.S. District Judge Ronnie Greer axed one charge against former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner and called proof in some of the others “slim,” the Knoxville News Sentinel reports.

Baumgartner faced seven charges of misprison of a felony, now reduced to six, concerning the alleged drug-trafficking conspiracy involving his mistress, who was then on probation under another judge’s supervision.

He had been accused of lying to Anderson County Criminal Court Judge Donald Elledge, who was overseeing the probation of Deena Castleman, to try to conceal the drug conspiracy in which she played a role. However, Greer said the charge concerning Baumgartner’s conversation with Elledge wasn’t supported by enough evidence to go to the jury, after Elledge testified that he couldn’t remember what Baumgartner said during their talk.

Baumgartner resigned from the bench last year, but kept his pension. He was later indicted.

Additional coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Tenn. County Deluged with Requests for New Trials After Judge’s Prescription Drug Issue Is Revealed”

WBIR: “Mistress takes stand in federal trial of former disgraced Knox Co. Judge Richard Baumgartner”

WBIR: “Prosecution rests in Baumgartner trial”

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