Ex-judge convicted of planting drugs on woman

A former North Georgia judge was convicted Thursday of conspiring to plant methamphetamine on a woman shortly after she publicly accused him of propositioning her in his chambers.

Bryant Cochran, once the chief judge of Murray County’s Magistrate Court, also was found guilty of witness tampering, conspiring to distribute a controlled substance and a federal civil rights charge that accused him of sexually assaulting a court employee. Cochran, who faces almost certain prison time, is to be sentenced Feb. 20 by U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy in Rome.

The breathtaking charges against Cochran stem from a state Judicial Qualifications Commission investigation that led to his resignation from the bench in August 2012. The judicial watchdog agency launched its probe after a Chatsworth woman said Cochran came onto her when she appeared before him to take out warrants against three people she said had assaulted her.

Cochran was indicted by a federal grand jury in May.

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