- Associated Press - Thursday, January 23, 2014

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois man was sentenced Thursday to a decade in federal prison for his role in a drug-trafficking ring that prosecutors say involved an admittedly drug-addicted judge and a prosecutor who later died of a cocaine overdose.

Sean McGilvery, 34, apologized to U.S. District Judge Michael Reagan before being sentenced on felony charges of heroin conspiracy and possession charges. He pleaded guilty in October.

Federal prosecutors say former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook was one of McGilvery’s regular customers while the judge was on the bench. Cook, 43, was arrested last year as part of an investigation that also focused on the cocaine-related death of prosecutor-turned-judge Joseph Christ at the Cook family’s hunting cabin.

Cook, who has not been charged in Christ’s death, has pleaded guilty to federal heroin and weapons possession counts. Cook, who resigned after his arrest last May and surrendered his law license, is to be sentenced Feb. 26.

While addressing the judge during Thursday’s sentencing hearing, McGilvery apologetically described himself as an addict who “didn’t realize the harm I was inflicting on the community, my family and myself,” the Belleville News-Democrat (https://bit.ly/KPccQV) reported.

McGilvery’s attorney, Rodney Holmes, told Reagan that McGilvery became addicted to a prescription painkiller after a back injury, then sold drugs to friends, including Cook, so he could get enough heroin to feed his own addiction.

Reagan said he got 15 letters of support from McGilvery’s friends and family. McGilvery’s mother, Linda Gibson, was among 20 people who attended Thursday’s hearing on McGilvery’s behalf, though she didn’t comment.

Still, the judge told McGilvery, “heroin today is a much different than the heroin of a five years ago. It is much more powerful, much more toxic.”

“The poison you were peddling has the potential to cause death,” the judge told McGilvery, who must serve 85 percent of his sentence before being eligible for release.


Information from: Belleville News-Democrat, https://www.bnd.com

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