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updated: 11/8/2013 8:41 AM

Ex-judge set to plead guilty to heroin, gun counts

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Associated Press

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. -- A former southwestern Illinois judge at the center of a courthouse drug scandal that's resulted in two overturned murder convictions appears poised to plead guilty to federal heroin and gun charges.

Former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook is set to appear in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis on Friday afternoon. His attorneys have said the 43-year-old intends to plead guilty.

Cook had pleaded not guilty and stepped down from the bench in May before going to drug rehabilitation.

His legal troubles surfaced after Joe Christ (krihst) died of a cocaine overdose in March while staying with Cook at a hunting cabin. Christ was a former longtime St. Clair County prosecutor and newly sworn-in associate judge.

Cook has not been charged in connection with the Christ's death.

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