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updated: 10/21/2013 11:51 AM

Courthouse drug scandal spurs bids for retrials

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Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- The fallout from the courthouse scandal involving former St. Clair County circuit judge Michael Cook is beginning to take root. Fellow judges are weighing whether to grant retrials to defendants convicted under Cook, who's been charged with possessing heroin and having a gun while on controlled substances.

Cook resigned after federal prosecutors filed charges against him.

The challenge for St. Clair's judicial system has been summed up by one defendant's attorney as "a novel affair" that may not be covered by legal precedent.

The county prosecutor, Brendan Kelly, has called it "a man-made disaster." Kelly's office has argued against new trials, without directly addressing allegations Cook was impaired on the bench.

Cook has pleaded not guilty. He has agreed to have his law license suspended and sought drug treatment.

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