U.S. District Senior Judge Jack T. Camp has reached an agreement with federal prosecutors over his arrest last month on drug and gun charges and will enter a guilty plea in federal court on Friday, said his attorney, William A. Morrison.
Camp, a senior federal judge on Georgia’s Northern District bench, will appear at an 11 a.m. plea hearing before visiting U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan, Morrison said. Hogan was appointed to oversee the criminal case against Camp by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Morrison declined to discuss details of Camp’s plea. On Thursday afternoon, prosecutors with the U.S. Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section in Washington filed an information charging Camp with aiding and abetting a felon’s possession of cocaine, the prescription painkiller Roxicodone and marijuana. The single charge is a felony. The FBI informant is an exotic dancer at an Atlanta strip club that Camp allegedly frequented and a convicted felon, according to the information. According to the information, a document filed by federal prosecutors in lieu of an indictment and usually in conjunction with a plea deal, Camp was aware of the informant’s felony conviction when he assisted her in securing the drugs. Camp could face 15 days to two years in prison and a minimum fine of $2,500 on the charge. Absent from the information was potentially the most serious charge on which the FBI had arrested Camp: illegal use of controlled substances while in possession of a firearm. Also absent from the information were misdemeanor drug offenses—attempted possession of cocaine, marijuana and Roxicodone in amounts that, according to a federal complaint filed by the FBI, appeared to be for Camp’s personal use. On Nov. 1, the law governing sentencing for the gun charge, which previously could have resulted in a prison sentence of up to 10 years, was changed to give a court the option of reducing that sentence to as little as six months in jail and six months of home confinement based on circumstances that include a defendant’s acceptance of responsibility for his actions. FBI agents arrested Camp on the night of Oct. 1 in the parking lot of the Velvet Room Lounge in Chamblee after the judge and the exotic dancer met with an undercover law enforcement agent posing as a drug dealer. The dancer, whom Camp had previously paid for sex according to an FBI complaint, was a confidential informant for the FBI. Agents arrested Camp shortly after the dancer gave the undercover officer $160 in cash in exchange for a plastic bag containing several blue pills and a white powder, which the dancer then gave to Camp, according to the complaint. The judge then allegedly dropped the drugs in his pocket, telling the undercover officer, “We’ll call you again.” FBI agents said they recovered two firearms from the front seat of Camp’s vehicle—a loaded .380 Sig Sauer P238 with its hammer cocked and a chambered round and a loaded Colt MK IV Series 80 handgun. Camp’s arrest followed an FBI undercover investigation that began last spring and stemmed from a series of liaisons with the dancer, who Camp met at the Goldrush Show Bar but has never been identified by federal authorities. On Thursday, Morrison declined to identify the dancer and FBI informant. The Smoking Gun, a website owned by Time-Warner Co. that publishes documents obtained from government and law enforcement sources, reported shortly after Camp’s arrest that the dancer was Sherry Ann Ramos. Ramos pleaded guilty in 2005 to using a communications facility to commit a drug trafficking crime in the Rome division of Georgia’s Northern District and was sentenced to four years in prison. She was released in 2009 and was subsequently arrested by Atlanta police for not having an adult entertainment permit, which the city requires of all exotic dancers performing in Atlanta strip clubs. Morrison would not say Thursday whether Camp will step down from the bench as part of the plea. Nor would he address whether the judge will retain his pension. Morrison also declined to discuss what factors—including medical issues—may have played a role in Camp’s decision to enter a guilty plea or federal prosecutors’ willingness to accept a plea deal. But Camp’s lawyer previously told the Daily Report that the judge’s legal team was arranging to get copies of medical records related to a bicycle accident Camp had in 2000. That accident, in which Morrison said the judge collided with a car, sent Camp to the hospital for days and “certainly could be an issue in his defense.” “I’m going to rely on the professionals to tell me whether the bike accident or any other incident in [Camp's] life had any impact on any behavior he has engaged in since then,” Morrison told the Daily Report. “As we explore a defense, it’s clear to us that the allegations themselves are so out of character for Judge Camp—although we’re not taking any position one way or the other as to whether the allegations are accurate—that we’re looking at anything we can. We are not leaving any stone unturned.” Morrison has said previously that he did not know whether any injury Camp may have sustained in the bike wreck could have altered his behavior. “That’s a scientific and technical question and distinction I’m just not prepared to answer,” he said. “My speculation is there certainly may be medical reasons why somebody might do something but still not impair their function in their job.” And, he noted, in the federal charges pending against Camp, he “is not alleged to have done anything job-related.” Three lawyers who know Camp told the Daily Report in earlier interviews that they wondered whether the bike accident injuries contributed to the jurist’s drug use or would play a role in how the case was resolved. Addiction experts, however, including Dr. Paul H. Earley, a physician who is medical director of the Talbott Recovery Campus in Atlanta, an addiction treatment facility, told the Daily Report the head injury would not have played a role in cocaine use. “Addiction is a really complex neurobiological process, and you don’t get complex behavior with a blunt head injury. … The whole process of cocaine use and … hiding, being sneaky, all that stuff requires an immense amount of thinking,” said Earley. While such an injury would be a “nonissue in the development of an addiction,” Earley said, explaining that addiction is largely hereditary, “it would be a slight issue in how you would structure treatment because of impulse control issues.” Addiction also could be an issue in Camp’s plea agreement with the government, according to two criminal defense lawyers who are not involved in the case. Attorneys Steven H. Sadow and M. Barbara Gayle Moon both have said that getting psychological and addiction counseling for Camp could aid in mitigating punishment if the judge overseeing the case is receptive.