Judge takes Lakin plea deal under advisement

Steve Gonzalez Jul. 31, 2008, 2:18pm

EAST ST. LOUIS - Five months after U.S. District Judge J. Phil Gilbert rejected a plea deal between federal prosecutors and Thomas Lakin, facing 18 counts of federal sex and drug charges, the sides proposed essentially the same deal at a status hearing July 31.

Gilbert said he would take the matter under advisement and set a hearing date.

The deal calls for Lakin, who was indicted in April 2007 for cocaine possession and transporting a minor across state lines for sexual purposes, to serve a six year sentence for various drug charges. In return, prosecutors would drop sex charges that could carry a life sentence.

Ironically, before Lakin's matter was heard by Gilbert, the court sentenced a man to a mandatory 10 years in prison for possessing crack cocaine.

Under the deal proposed Tuesday, Lakin would pay $180,000 in restitution to an Illinois advocacy group, rather than a Missouri entity, which had been proposed in the earlier deal.

During the brief, 10-minute hearing, Gilbert expressed concern as to how Lakin would pay for restitution if he is in fact broke.

He asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Clark and Lakin's lawyer Scott Rosenblum of St. Louis how they arrived at a restitution figure without knowing what Lakin's assets are.

Rosenblum explained that two trusts that Lakin had set up would pay. Brad Lakin, Tom Lakin's son and president of the Lakin Law Firm in Wood River, is the trustee in control and would agree to pay the restitution, Rosenblum said.

Under the new deal, Lakin would not have to register as a sex offender.

Lakin is accused of taking a boy to Malibu, Calif., with the intent to have sex and of providing cocaine to females to lure them into having sex with the boy.

In an odd display of camaraderie before the hearing started, Lakin who was dressed in suit and tie, put his arm around Clark as if they were golfing buddies.

Two weeks ago, Clark filed a motion to inspect the contents of a black binder Lakin left behind in the vehicle of Lakin's acquaintance who was cooperating with the government's investigation.

Clark indicated the binder contains information about a juvenile who may be subject in Lakin's indictment.

Gilbert has not ruled on that motion.

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