Disgraced Knoxville Judge

THE JUDGE

Our judicial system is very interesting. You either love it or hate it

That seems to be the cash with former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner.

Yesterday, a federal magistrate judge heard a defense appeal to toss out a case against former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner.

Defense attorneys Donald A. Bosch and Ann Short contend the federal charge of misprision of a felony filed against Baumgartner is legally flawed.

Baumgartner is accused of lying to various people, including a fellow judge, to cover for his drug-supplying mistress.

The attorneys contended Baumgartner did not commit a federal crime because he did not lie to federal authorities.

Assistant U.S Attorneys David Lewen and Zachary Bolitho counter Baumgartner was part of a drug distribution conspiracy and lied to protect it.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Clifford Shirley took the issue under advisement and will issue a written ruling later.

Baumgartner left the bench in January 2011 amid a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation probe into allegations he bought pills from a felon on probation in his court and used a graduate of the Drug Court program he helped found for both sex and drugs.