Ex-Ga. judge: depression led to drug conviction

A former veteran federal judge who pleaded guilty to two drug-related charges after a stripper claimed he used cocaine with her said in court papers Friday that his battle with depression and brain damage from a bicycling accident led to his troubles.

Ex-U.S. Senior Judge Jack T. Camp's attorneys traced a change in the 67-year-old's behavior to treatment he received for depression in November 1999. He was given standard antidepressant medications when he should have been treated for bipolar disorder, the documents said.

A bicycling accident in 2000 left him with a concussion, broken ribs and brain damage that may have worsened his impulse control, Camp's attorneys said.

"No one can assess precisely how these features of his personal mental health and the sorrows and stress of his life interacted," the filing said.

"They do not excuse his conduct. They do help explain, however, how in May of 2010 a lonely man in the twilight of his life became entangled with a seductive prostitute more than willing to take advantage of his needs and of his misguided impulse to be her friend and protector."

Camp pleaded guilty in November to aiding and abetting a felon's possession of cocaine when he bought drugs for the stripper, who was secretly cooperating with authorities. He also pleaded guilty to possession of illegal drugs and illegally giving the stripper his government-issued laptop.

As part of the plea agreement, he stepped down from the bench and agreed to cooperate with authorities looking into any of the cases he handled while he was being investigated.

Camp could face up to four years in federal prison when he is sentenced next month, but he is likely to get substantially less time. Camp's attorneys asked for probation, a fine and community service.

"Every waking moment he deals with the knowledge that his recent actions have irrevocably destroyed the reputation he carefully crafted and painstakingly earned," it said. "He recognizes that he will live his remaining years as a judge who broke the very law that he had sworn to uphold."

Camp, who is married with two adult children, was a respected federal judge and Vietnam War veteran who was appointed to the bench by Ronald Reagan in 1987.

He apparently met the stripper in May, received a dance from her and they met the next day at a hotel, where he paid her to have sex with him and the two used cocaine together, authorities said.

Over the next few months, the two used cocaine and other drugs together at strip clubs and other places. In June, prosecutors said he brought a semiautomatic handgun with him when he followed her to a suburban Atlanta home where she was buying drugs.

FBI agents swarmed Camp's car in October after authorities said he gave the stripper $160 to buy drugs from an undercover officer. They also recovered two guns from his front seat.

Authorities said a stripper, who previously had a felony drug trafficking conviction, had been working with the FBI to build a case against the judge. In exchange, prosecutors agreed not to charge her.