(Associated Press) A southwestern Illinois judge whose colleague died of a cocaine overdose while the two were on a hunting trip resigned Wednesday, days after he was charged with federal heroin and gun offenses in the widening courthouse drug scandal.
St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook announced he was stepping down in a brief letter to the county's chief judge, John Baricevic. No reason for Cook's departure was stated in the letter, delivered on his behalf by one of his attorneys because Cook is in rehab, Baricevic said.
Federal prosecutors on Friday charged Cook, 43, with possessing heroin and having a gun while illegally using controlled substances. Cook, whom the criminal complaint accuses of being an addict, has pleaded not guilty and is free on bond.
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