St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook will go to trial on charges of being a heroin user in possession of a firearm and possessing heroin on July 30 before U.S. District Judge William D. Stiehl.
Cook was arrested Wednesday at the home of an alleged heroin dealer and charged May 24 in federal court in East St. Louis. He pleaded not guilty to the charges, and was released on a $10,000 unsecured recognizance bond.
He is represented by William Lucco of Edwardsville and Michael Nester of Belleville.
Cook’s release came with some conditions, among them he was ordered to surrender his passport, submit to drug testing and participate in substance abuse therapy if deemed advisable.
Charges against Cook were filed on the same day that Pike County Sheriff and Coroner Paul Petty confirmed that former St. Clair County Associate Judge Joseph Christ died of cocaine intoxification on March 10. His death took place at a Cook family owned hunting cabin in rural Pleasant Hill where the judges spent the weekend.
Cocaine and paraphernalia were taken into custody by the coroner after emergency personnel responded to the scene. Cook was the only other person on the property at the time, according to a statement from the Pike County coroner.
In the meantime, federal authorities argue that two other men facing related drug charges are flight risks, dangerous to the community and at risk of intimidating witnesses and should remain in custody.
Sean D. McGilvery of Belleville was charged May 23 with possessing and distributing large quantities of heroin – exceeding one kilogram — in an operation where resources were pooled and drugs were run from Chicago.
Cook was arrested at McGilvery’s home on May 22.
U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton on Tuesday filed a motion for McGilvery’s detention until trial. He has been appointed a federal public defender.
McGilvery also is accused of conspiring with Deborah A. Perkins, 65, and Douglas W. Oliver II, 47, a mother-son duo from Fairview Heights, to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute in excess of one kilogram of heroin.
In September, Perkins and Oliver were charged in St. Clair County with concealment of the homicidal death of Jessica M. Williams of Collinsville. Cook did not initially preside over their cases but did so months later, court records show.
Investigators identified Perkins and Oliver as responsible for moving the body of Williams – who died of a heroin overdose – from Fairview Heights to Washington Park to conceal her death.
The other man being held is St. Clair County probation officer James K. Fogarty, who is accused of providing cocaine to Cook and Christ the day before Christ’s death.
Wigginton also sought Fogarty's detention, and on Tuesday, U.S. Magistrate Donald Wilkerson ordered Fogarty held until a hearing which has been reset to June 4.
Belleville attorneys Clyde Kuehn and Justin Kuehn entered appearance today on behalf of Fogarty.
According to an FBI agent’s affidavit, Fogarty said he had used drugs with Cook and Christ on multiple occasions.
Fogarty told agent Joseph Murphy that he “did a line” with Cook and Christ, and sold them a split “eight ball” of cocaine for $140 each, the day before the judges went to the hunting cabin.