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Trial Concludes for Former Public Defender Charged with Drug Crime

Trial Concludes for Former Public Defender Charged with Drug Crime

The bench trial is over for a former public defender accused of purchasing cocaine this past January with the intent to sell the drugs.

District Court Judge Richard Birch took under advisement the case against Jon Worthman, who is charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, 10 to 28 grams.

Birch asked Special Prosecutor Doug Warner and Defense Attorney Maren Chaloupka for written closing arguments after testimony concluded in the trial Wednesday.

Following his arrest by the WING Investigators, the arrest affidavit says Worthman said he thought he’d be purchasing at least two eight-balls of cocaine, admitted to receiving cocaine in the past in exchange for legal services, as well as using the drug himself.

Prosecutors introduced into evidence copies of text messages between Worthman and a drug dealer during the first half of 2019, saying they supported the state’s charge in the case.

The defense claimed during opening statements the messages actually amounted to evidence of ‘crazy talk’ by an addict that was using his knowledge of the criminal justice system to get more of the drug for personal use at no cost, and there was no other corroborating evidence to support the charge.

A verdict in the case is anticipated to be released at a later date. If convicted on the Class 1D felony, Worthman faces a mandatory minimum prison term of three years, with a maximum of fifty years.

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