Ex-Knox County Judge Baumgartner gets delay in federal trial

Ex-Knox County Judge Richard Baumgartner gets delay in federal trial

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Richard Baumgartner leaving the courthouse Thursday Richard Baumgartner leaving the courthouse Thursday

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - An agreement was struck Thursday that delays the federal felonies case against former Knox County Judge Richard Baumgartner.

The trial will now on start on October 23, instead of July 18, so Baumgartner's defense team has more time to prepare. 

U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips was set to preside over Baumgartner's trial, but he recused himself in an order filed Wednesday.

The case was reassigned Thursday morning to U.S. District Judge Ronnie Greer, but U.S. Magistrate Judge Clifford Shirley presided over the hearing on Thursday afternoon.

Baumgartner was charged in May with seven counts of misprision of a felony in connection to an ongoing probe by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. It placed the ex-judge at the center of a pill addiction and sex scandal.

In March 2011, Baumgartner pleaded guilty to official misconduct and resigned from the bench. As part of his plea deal at that time, Baumgartner received a suspended sentence, two years of judicial diversion and a chance to keep his state pension.

However, the TBI probe also revealed that Baumgartner was buying prescription pain pills from Chris Gibson, a convicted felon on probation in Baumgartner's court.

The probe found that Judge Baumgartner began obtaining his drugs by doctor shopping, then started buying them from Gibson and eventually became involved with Deena Castleman, one of his Drug Court graduates. That relationship included sex, pill sharing and paying some of her bills, according to the probe.

The federal indictment accuses Baumgartner of lying about Castleman and their drug conspiracy to several officials and others.

Baumgartner's attorney Don Bosch withdrew a motion Thursday he had filed previously to have the case declared "complex."

A motions hearing is scheduled for August 27 and a reciprocal discovery deadline is set for September 21. The plea cut off date is October 9.

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