Jury convicts ex-judge in drug conspiracy cover-up

Jury convicts ex-judge in drug conspiracy cover-up

November 2nd, 2012 by Associated Press in Local - Breaking News

Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner listens to court proceedings in 2011. A finding that Baumgarner was high on prescription pills during the last two years of his career is calling into question convictions in many of the criminal cases he handled. Baumgartner stepped down from the bench and pleaded guilty in March 2011 to a single count of official misconduct.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A jury has convicted a former Knoxville criminal court judge charged with lying to cover up a scheme that provided him painkillers and sex.

WVLT-TV reported the verdict issued today convicted Richard Baumgartner on five counts and acquitted him on another count.

Baumgartner pleaded guilty to state charges of misconduct and left the bench in 2011 but avoided jail time after an investigation found he was obtaining prescription painkillers from felons in his court.

The U.S. attorney's office indicted him in May on charges of misprision of a felony, accusing him of lying to cover up a conspiracy involving a defendant from his court supplying him with pills and sex.

Baumgartner's defense conceded he was an addict and adulterer but argued his actions weren't a federal crime.