Steve Korris Jul. 31, 2013, 4:03pm

EAST ST. LOUIS – Former St. Clair County probation officer James Fogarty seeks two or three months to negotiate a guilty plea on charges that he distributed cocaine.

“Activities aimed at obtaining both a plea agreement and an accompanying addendum are underway,” his lawyer, Justin Kuehn of Belleville, wrote on July 31.

“A change of plea is ultimately contemplated,” he wrote.

He asked for a delay of 60 to 90 days in a trial that U.S. District Judge Michael Reagan had set to start on Aug. 26.

Agents arrested Fogarty in May, on charges that he supplied cocaine to the late judge Joe Christ and others.

Christ allegedly received 1.5 grams of cocaine from Fogarty two days before he died.

On June 4, at a detention hearing, Kuehn said it was possible that none of the cocaine found in Cook’s autopsy came from Fogarty.

Kuehn said Christ would have metabolized the cocaine Fogarty allegedly supplied.

At the hearing, Magistrate Judge Stephen Williams released Fogarty on $10,000 bond.

He said Fogarty recognized the seriousness of the offense and the scrutiny he is under.

Grand jurors indicted him on June 18, charging that he possessed cocaine with intent to distribute it and that he possessed a firearm while using cocaine.

Prosecutors tendered discovery on July 12, according to the motion for continuance.

Kuehn wrote, “The defense is presently reviewing discovery, which includes reams of telephone records that require examination and analysis.”

He wrote that he is currently preparing for a murder trial before St. Clair County Circuit Judge Zina Cruse, with a firm date of Aug. 19.

“This case is dominating counsel’s attention,” he wrote.

He wrote that the government did not object to a continuance.

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