Steve Korris Aug. 8, 2013, 6:47am

EAST ST. LOUIS – U.S. District Judge Michael Reagan has delayed the drug trial of former St. Clair County probation officer James Fogarty so he can negotiate a plea.

Reagan granted a continuance of Fogarty’s trial on a cocaine distribution charge on Aug. 1, pushing it back from Aug. 26 to Nov. 18.

Reagan wrote that activities aimed at obtaining a plea agreement are underway.

Fogarty allegedly supplied cocaine to Circuit Judge Joe Christ, who died of cocaine poisoning at a lodge in Pike County this March.

Fogarty joins two other figures preparing to plead guilty in the county drug scandal.

Douglas Oliver and Eric Beckley, facing charges that they possessed heroin with intent to distribute it, obtained delays in their trials in June.

Oliver’s lawyer wrote that he awaited plea agreement documents from prosecutors.

Beckley’s lawyer wrote that he needed time to engage in negotiations.

Judges gave them plenty of time to negotiate, but they have used most of it.

District Judge David Herndon continued Oliver’s trial to Aug. 26, and District Judge Patrick Murphy continued Beckley’s trial to Sept. 10.

Oliver’s mother, Deborah Perkins, pleaded guilty of distributing heroin on Aug. 1.

Herndon set her sentencing hearing for Dec. 18.

Agents arrested Perkins, Oliver and Beckley in January, after following Perkins from a bus station to Beckley’s home and then to her own home.

Agents allegedly seized 50 grams of cocaine at Beckley’s house and 25 grams at Perkins’s house.

Agents arrested Fogarty in May, after Pike County sheriff and coroner Paul Petty determined that cocaine killed Christ.

Agents arrested Circuit Judge Michael Cook, who found Christ’s body, and charged him with heroin possession.

They arrested Cook’s alleged supplier, Sean McGilvery, on a heroin distribution charge.

They tied the first set of arrests to the second set by identifying McGilvery as an associate of Perkins and Oliver.

Cook and McGilvery continued their trials, but not for plea negotiations.

McGilvery sought a continuance due to the volume of discovery.

Cook sought a continuance so he could obtain treatment.

Herndon continued McGilvery’s trial to Sept. 16.

District Judge William Stiehl continued Cook’s trial to Oct. 1.

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