Tom Lakin (left) enters the federal courthouse in East St. Louis prior to a plea agreement hearing before Judge J. Phil Gilbert. Lakin was taken into custody by U.S. Marshalls after the judge accepted the agreement.
In a photo taken earlier this year, Tom Lakin (left) arrives at the federal courthouse with his attorney Scott Rosenblum.
Defense attorney Scott Rosenblum holds open the door for Tom Lakin at the federal courthouse in East St. Louis.
Attorney Tom Lakin was taken into custody Wednesday at the federal courthouse in East St. Louis, after U.S. District Court Judge J. Phil Gilbert accepted a binding plea agreement on drug charges.
Lakin's attorney, Scott Rosenblum, argued that his client should be able to remain free on bond so he may seek medical care for cancer, a pulmonary illness and cardiac problems before reporting to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Clark had argued against allowing Lakin to remain free, saying he had broken his bond agreement by making contact with a witness related to the case.
Sentencing has been scheduled for Oct. 8. He faces 72 months in a federal prison and a fine. Lakin was also ordered to pay the cost of his incarceration and supervised release.
"I'll be damned if I am going to saddle taxpayers with the cost of incarceration," Gilbert said.
He ruled that "exceptional circumstances" related to his medical conditions do not exist in the case. He said Lakin's bond would have been revoked because of his contact with the witness.
Regarding Lakin's condition that he not make contact with witnesses while free on bond, Gilbert said, "This is not a sometime deal; it's an all time deal."
Lakin was indicted in April 2007 for cocaine possession and transporting a minor across state lines for sexual purposes. He pleaded guilty to drug-related charges. The sex-related charges were dropped under the plea agreement.
Clark said the government would prove that Lakin, whom he described as a prominent Madison County attorney, used and distributed cocaine to persons under 21 and one under 18, "not occasionally...monthly, weekly and sometimes daily."
He said that Lakin's East Alton residence was a place "where people would come...after bars were closed, using and sharing cocaine."
Clark also said some witnesses would testify that his residence was used because it was believed that "local police would not interfere with a powerful, well-connected attorney," he said.