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updated: 3/28/2014 7:48 AM

Hearing awaits ex-Illinois judge in courthouse drug case

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Associated Press

EAST ST. LOUIS -- A former southwestern Illinois judge at the center of a courthouse drug scandal soon could hear his punishment on federal gun and heroin charges.

Michael Cook is to appear Friday for a scheduled sentencing hearing in federal court in East St. Louis. That's where U.S. District Judge Joe Billy McDade rejected a plea deal the former St. Clair County judge had reached with prosecutors. McDade called the proposed 18-month prison term too lenient.

McDade at that time delayed proceedings for a month, giving both sides time to negotiate a stiffer prison sentence for him to consider. Cook still has the right to withdraw his November guilty plea and request a trial.

Cook resigned last year after being accused of heroin possession and illegally having a firearm.

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