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Ex-Judge Gets Two Years in Prison

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Booking photo of former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook of Belleville.

Booking photo of former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook of Belleville.

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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A former Metro-East 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.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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