ALLIANCE — An Alliance public defender finds himself at the defense table — this time as a defendant.

The Nebraska State Patrol released Wednesday that investigators with the Western Nebraska Intelligence and Narcotics Group (WING) arrested Jon Worthman, of Scottsbluff, Tuesday afternoon.

The investigation revealed that Jon Worthman, an attorney based in Alliance, was trading legal fees for cocaine, according to the Nebraska State Patrol. Worthman, 52, of Scottsbluff, was arrested Tuesday and lodged in the Scotts Bluff County Detention Center for possession of cocaine with intent to deliver.

Worthman has served as a public defender in Box Butte County, re-elected to his post in 2018. Worthman had served as a public defender for the county from 2003 to 2009, when he resigned his position, and returned to the post after the previous public defender, Dave Eubanks, was appointed to serve as the Scotts Bluff County Attorney.

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Box Butte County Clerk Judy Messersmith indicated that she had no knowledge Worthman's arrest and county commissioners had not yet scheduled any meeting to discuss any possible replacement of Worthman as the public defender. 

Worthman also served a stint as an interim public defender in Dawes County. He had been practicing law since September 1994 and provided legal services as a private attorney including real estate and probate law.

The attorney's bond had been set at 10 percent of $150,000, or $15,000, which he posted for his release. 

The WING Task Force includes officers and investigators from several agencies in the Nebraska Panhandle. WING was assisted by the Nebraska State Patrol and Scottsbluff Police Department.

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