A federal judge today granted former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook’s request to continue his July 15 trial on drug and firearm charges.
Belleville attorney Thomas Q. Keefe III filed the motion for a continuance Monday on the grounds that his client is currently undergoing drug treatment at an out-of-state facility, “where he is expected to remain for at least several more weeks.”
In his two-page order granting the motion, U.S. District Judge William Stiehl wrote that “in light of the defendant’s absence from the District for necessary medical care, and his inability, due to that treatment, to meaningfully participate in the preparation of his defense, that it is in the best interests of justice and the defendant to continue the final pretrial and trial in this matter.”
Determining “that additional time is reasonable and necessary to allow the defense attorney the opportunity to further prepare for trial once the defendant returns to the District,” Stiehl rescheduled Cook’s trial to Oct. 1 and set a final pre-trial conference for Sept. 23.
Stiehl’s order states in bold type that “Defense counsel shall promptly notify the Court once the defendant returns to the District after treatment.”
It also notes that “all time between the filing of the motion to continue and the new trial date shall be excluded for speedy trial purposes.” Cook waived his right to a speedy trial in an exhibit to his Monday motion for a continuance.
Cook was charged May 24 with possession of heroin and being an unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of firearms. He entered a not guilty plea to both charges and stepped down from the bench late last month.
On Tuesday, a federal grand jury returned indictments against two other men who face related charges: Sean McGilvery, a Belleville resident and longtime friend of Cook’s, and James Fogarty, a former St. Clair County probation officer.
The indictment charges McGilvery with conspiracy to distribute and possess more than 1 kilogram of heroin with the intent to deliver.
McGilvery, who was arrested May 23 and charged with possessing and distributing heroin, has pleaded not guilty. Cook was arrested at McGilvery’s residence on May 22.
He remains in federal custody, but is scheduled to appear in court at 10:30 a.m. Thursday for a bond hearing.
From about June 2009 to May 22, the indictment states that McGilvery “knowingly and intentionally combined, conspired, confederated, and agreed with other persons both known and unknown, including Deborah A. Perkins and Douglas William Oliver, to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin.”
Perkins and Oliver, a mother-son duo from Fairview Heights, were charged in September in St. Clair County with concealment of the homicidal death of Jessica M. Williams of Collinsville.
They are accused of moving the body of Williams, who died of a heroin overdose, from Fairview Heights to Washington Park in order to conceal her death.
They also face federal charges that accuse them of possessing heroin with the intent to deliver. They were arrested in January and indicted in February on the federal drug charges.
Perkins’ attorney today filed a motion to continue her July 1 trial, saying that she plans to enter a guilty plea in her federal case, but has not yet received a proposed plea agreement from the government.
The indictment returned against Fogarty, the former probation officer, includes two counts, one for possession with intent to deliver cocaine and another for being an unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm.
The first count of the indictment accuses him of possessing cocaine on March 8 and the second count states that on or about May 22 Fogarty was an unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm.
Fogarty is accused of supplying drugs to Cook and the late Associate Judge Joseph Christ, who died March 10 of cocaine intoxification at Cook’s Pike County hunting cabin. He allegedly told an FBI agent that he had used drugs with both judges on multiple occasions.
Fogarty, who has also pleaded not guilty, posted a $10,000 bond and was released on June 4. Court records show a summons was issued today and that a 2 p.m. July 1 arraignment has been set in his case.
Both indictments were signed by U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton and First Assistant U.S. Attorney James L. Porter.
Although it’s unclear if there is any connection to the indictments against McGilvery and Fogarty, court records show the grand jury today charged Royce Spann with possession of heroin with intent to deliver.
This indictment, which was signed by Wigginton and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jungmin Lee, states that on or about March 27, Spann knowingly and intentionally possessed “100 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing heroin.”