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updated: 11/1/2013 9:11 AM

Former downstate judge to plead guilty to heroin, gun charges

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Associated Press

An attorney for a former southwestern Illinois judge at the center of a courthouse drug scandal says his client plans to plead guilty next week to federal heroin and drug charges.

Former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook has pleaded not guilty to charges of heroin possession and having a gun while illegally using controlled substances.

But a change-of-plea hearing is scheduled for next Friday in federal court in East St. Louis and Cook attorney J. William Lucco has confirmed to The Associated Press that it's Cook's intention to plead guilty. Lucco had no other comment.

Cook has resigned his judgeship.

Cook's legal troubles intensified earlier this year after a friend, longtime prosecutor-turned-judge Joe Christ, died of a cocaine overdose while with Cook at the Cook family's hunting cabin.

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