Cocaine that probation officer James Fogarty allegedly supplied to Judge Joe Christ may not have caused Christ’s death, Fogarty’s lawyer argued on June 4.
At a detention hearing in federal court, Clyde Kuehn of Belleville said Christ allegedly received 1.5 grams of cocaine from Fogarty on the Friday before he died.
Kuehn said Christ would have metabolized that amount by the following Sunday, when he died in a Pike County hunting lodge.
He said it was possible that none of the cocaine that Fogarty allegedly supplied was detected in Christ’s autopsy.
Kuehn secured a victory at the hearing, as he persuaded Magistrate Judge Stephen Williams to release Fogarty on $10,000 bond.
Assistant U. S. Attorney James Porter had opposed Fogarty’s release, casting him as a flight risk and a danger to the community.
Porter said the mandatory minimum sentence on the charge is 10 years, and Fogarty might face a minimum of 20 years.
Fogarty, 45, listened to the proceedings with his hands and feet in chains.
Porter said Fogarty's actions were “a jaw dropping extraordinary breach of trusts for the courts of St. Clair County."
He said Fogarty lost his job and his standing in the community. He said Fogarty was involved in at least one death.
He also said Fogarty managed while a probation officer to hide his activities.
Kuehn said Fogarty is a first offender who has lived in the community a long time and comes from a good family.
He said there are individuals willing to employ him.
He said Fogarty’s wife Susan works full time, and Fogarty will need to take care of their two young sons this summer if he doesn’t find employment.
Agents confronted Fogarty at his home on May 22, and showed him text messages he had received from Christ, according to Kuehn.
He said Fogarty admitted supplying a quantity of drugs, but agents allowed him to sleep in his own bed in a home with guns. He also said Fogarty didn’t contact people or throw away the guns.
Williams asked about the guns, and Porter said the government seized two.
He said Fogarty can travel in the Southern District of Illinois and the Eastern District of Missouri.
Trial has not been set because an indictment is pending.
A clerk brought bond papers to Fogarty, who awkwardly clutched a pen in his cuffed left hand and scrawled a signature.
Steve Korris is a freelance reporter.