Published Tuesday, October 05, 2010
The Newnan Times-Herald
Longtime Senior U.S. District Court Judge Jack T. Camp — a Coweta County resident — was arrested Friday in a drug and firearms case after an exotic dancer at an Atlanta strip club told authorities he used cocaine, marijuana and other illegal drugs with her.
Camp had his first appearance in court Monday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles S. Coody and was ultimately released on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Justice.
Judge Coody, of Alabama, was brought in to hear the case Monday after the Northern District of Georgia federal judges all recused themselves, according to the Associated Press. Federal prosecutors from Washington also flew in to handle the government’s arguments.
Camp’s attorney, William Morrison, said that his client intends to plead not guilty to the drug and firearms charges, according to the AP. Morrison said Camp would probably take a leave of absence and would not preside over any more cases until the charges are resolved.
“This is really a case between Judge Camp and his wife,” said Morrison. “It’s not about Judge Camp being a judge. It’s about him being a husband. Judge Camp’s wife is an extraordinarily strong woman and she’s going to stand by her husband. And this is a very strong man. He’s going to overcome these circumstances.”
Morrison said Camp’s spirits remain high, according to the AP.
Camp, 67, was arrested Friday shortly after paying an undercover FBI agent $160 for cocaine and Roxycodone, a narcotic pain medication, that he intended to use with the exotic dancer, according to the criminal complaint filed with U.S. District Court. Camp had two firearms in the front seat of his vehicle at the time of his arrest.
The charges against Camp were laid out in an eight-page affidavit released late Monday.
Camp met the confidential informant, who recently began cooperating with the FBI, at the Goldrush Showbar in Atlanta in early 2010 and he soon began paying her for sex and buying cocaine from her, according to the affidavit.
In June 2010, Camp followed the informant to a drug dealer in Marietta to buy Roxycodone. He was also recorded in a wiretapped telephone call on Sept. 28 talking with her about getting together over the weekend to split more pills and cocaine with her, according to the charges.
He showed up at a Publix parking lot in northeast Atlanta around 7:15 p.m. Friday to meet with the an undercover agent posing as the dealer. When the informant told her she was worried about his safety, the judge told her “I not only have my little pistol, I’ve got my big pistol so, uh, we’ll take care of any problems that come up,” according to the affidavit.
He handed over $160 in cash to pay for the drugs around 7:35 p.m. Ten minutes later, authorities arrested the judge and seized the two guns from the front seat of his vehicle, according to AP.
The judge faces four drug-related charges and one count of possessing firearms while illegally using drugs, according to the affidavit.
Camp, a Vietnam War veteran, was appointed to the bench by Ronald Reagan in 1987. He is a former chief judge for the Northern District of Georgia, according to AP.
Camp has presided over numerous high-profile cases — some involving drugs — before taking on a lesser caseload in 2008.
Camp, who had been a Newnan attorney with the law firm of Glover and Davis since 1975, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in April 1988 for the position of U.S. Judge for the Northern District of Georgia following a 10-month nomination process.
Among those making remarks at his investiture ceremony in May 1988 were then-Sixth District Congressman Newt Gingrich, former U.S. Attorney General Griffin B. Bell, State Bar of Georgia President J. Littleton Glover Jr. and Georgia Republican Party Chairman John Stuckey.
Camp graduated at the top of his class at the Citadel and received his law degree at the University of Virginia Law School and was in the top 25 percent of his graduating class. He also earned a master’s degree in American History at the University of Virginia.
The U.S. district judgeship is a presidential appointment upon the advice and consent of the Senate, and Camp had to pass several screenings.
In October 1987, Camp was recommended for the position by President Reagan. He testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in hearings similar to those held for Supreme Court nominees in March 1988.
According to Gingrich’s remarks at the investiture ceremonies, it was through one of Gingrich’s predecessors, Congressman Albert Sidney Camp, that Gingrich came to know Jack Camp. Gingrich also knew Camp through Camp’s wife who worked for Gingrich’s office.
The congressman described Camp as a “man of sound thinking, deep commitment to the country, and solid conservative values.”