NORRISTOWN Montgomery County lawyer Gregory Noonan showed up Friday for his preliminary hearing on drug charges as defendant - and as counsel.

In a case in which out-of-the-ordinary seems routine, he also served up a bit of culinary criticism.

"I have to admit, your honor, the food in Chester County is better than the food in Montgomery County," he said to District Judge Margaret Hunsicker about jail cuisine.

County detectives arrested Noonan, 53, of Lansdale, on Dec. 20. He faces 10 charges, including two felony counts of manufacturing, delivering, or possessing drugs, which were filed after a tip launched an undercover operation.

He; his attorney of record, Brad Wertheimer; and Assistant District Attorney Jason Whalley were present at the hearing in Norristown.

Noonan confirmed to Hunsicker that he was waiving his preliminary hearing in that court. Hunsicker then sent his case on for trial in Montgomery County Court and scheduled his formal arraignment for Feb. 12.

Wertheimer next asked the judge to reduce his client's bail from $250,000 cash to $99,000 cash. That would give Noonan access to the law library, the defendant explained, at the Chester County Prison, where he had been transferred after initially being held at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility. Hunsicker lowered his bail.

Noonan was accused of selling oxycodone to an undercover officer Nov. 23, the day after a jury found a client he represented at trial guilty of illegally prescribing huge amounts of oxycodone and other drugs.

In District Court on Friday, when Hunsicker looked toward the prosecutor to ask whether Noonan would continue to be held in Chester County, it was Noonan who answered. "To be honest," he said to the judge, "I think it's a good idea."

Apparently, just because he had become a defendant didn't mean he could stop being a lawyer.

What he wore in the court also reflected both roles: a suit and tie under a dark topcoat that was cinched tightly at the waist by the wide, brown prisoner belt that anchors handcuffs.