Baumgartner Now Under Federal Investigation - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Baumgartner Now Under Federal Investigation

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - After pleading guilty to a state charge of official misconduct, former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner is now under a federal investigation.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Kristin Helm told The Knoxville News Sentinel that investigators are continuing their probe into Baumgartner, specifically looking at possible federal violations in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Baumgartner, whose prescription painkiller abuse was detailed in parts of a TBI file, pleaded guilty last year to one charge of official misconduct in a deal that allowed him to avoid jail time. He also got to keep his pension.

His plea agreement barred the filing of additional state charges, but did not preclude federal prosecution.

Baumgartner was allegedly on painkillers during the trials of four people in the torture-slayings of a young Knoxville couple.

21-year-old Channon Christian and 23-year-old Christopher Newsom were carjacked, sexually tortured and then killed in 2007.

The four were convicted during trials in 2009 and 2010. One of them, Lemaricus Davidson, received the death penalty. Letalvis Cobbins and George Thomas are serving life sentences, and Vanessa Coleman was sentenced to years.

All four were granted re-trials.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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