A federal judge from Peoria will preside over the trial of a former St. Clair County judge accused of drugs and weapons violations. US District Court Judge Joe Billy McDade was named to preside over the case of Michael Cook, who has pleaded not guilty to possessing heroin and having a gun while illegally using controlled substances. Chief Judge David Herndon of the Southern District was initially assigned the case. However, he and other federal judges in the district recused themselves. Cook resigned his judgeship and agreed to attend a drug rehabilitation center in Minnesota and to the suspension of his law license. He was released without being required to post cash. Investigators say Cook was with Judge Joe Christ when Christ died from a cocaine overdose.
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