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Prosecutor: James Fogarty Implicated "Prominent People" in Belleville Drug Scandal

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Probation officer James Fogarty is accused of selling cocaine to Belleville's upper crust.
According to statements made in an Illinois courtroom yesterday, a drug scandal in the St. Clair County Courthouse could be poised to ensnare even more of the community's most respected citizens.

At a bond hearing for St. Clair County probation officer James Fogarty yesterday, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Porter argued that Fogarty -- who allegedly sold cocaine to two circuit court judges -- is a flight risk.

The defendant, Porter told the court, "implicated a number of prominent people up in Belleville and the area around."

See also:
- Illinois Judge Michael Cook Faces Heroin, Gun Charges
- Illinois Judge Michael Cook Resigns After Drug Arrest; Checks into Rehab Facility
- Judge Michael Cook's 911 Call Before Judge Joe Christ's Death; "I Love Him Like a Brother"

Fogarty is accused of selling an "eight ball" of cocaine to Judges Michael Cook and Joe Christ. The two magistrates were together at Cook's hunting cabin when Christ died of an overdose in March. Early last month, Cook was charged for possession of heroin and possession of a firearm while under the influence of heroin. He was arrested exiting the home of an alleged heroin dealer and has since resigned.

FBI Agent Joseph Murphy interviewed Fogarty shortly after Cook's arrest. In those conversations, Fogarty admitted that he'd used cocaine with Cook on numerous occasions. According to the criminal complaint filed in federal court, Fogarty told Murphy he'd sold the judges the cocaine that lead to Christ's death.

The complaint does not mention any other "prominent people" besides Cook and Christ.

While juicy, Porter's statement (as reported by the Belleville News-Democrat) did not prevent Fogarty from being released. The judge ultimately gave him a $10,000 bond and ordered that Fogarty wear an ankle bracelet.

The remark was also apparently news to Fogarty's attorney, Clyde Kuehn, who told reporters immediately after the hearing that he did not know whom Porter was referring to. Kuehn reiterated this to Daily RFT in an e-mail:

I stated that based upon the comments of Mr. Porter about what Fogarty said to Agent Murphy before we were hired to represent him, [Fogarty] obviously has not relayed to Justin or I all of what he said when questioned by Agent Murphy. Several things said by Porter and attributed to Fogarty's statements to Murphy I was hearing for the first time.

While there's no clue yet who these "prominent people" are, U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton says the investigation remains "wide open."

Are you a prominent person in Belleville engaged in the trafficking and use of illegal narcotics? Daily RFT would love to hear from you! Drop a dime on yourself using the contact information below. Thanks.

Follow Jessica Lussenhop on Twitter at @Lussenpop. E-mail the author at Jessica.Lussenhop@RiverfrontTimes.com.



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