LOGANSPORT, Ind. (Pharos-Tribune) — Kerry Worthington suspended his campaign Tuesday for Indiana's District 23 House of Representatives seat, 24-Hour News 8â€™s news partner the
The charge comes from a March undercover buy that was conducted by the Cass County Drug Task Force and the Cass County Sheriffâ€™s Department.
Worthington is accused of selling cocaine to an undercover officer from his business, Worlyâ€™s Tavern. The tavern is across the street from the sheriffâ€™s department.
Worthington will still have his name on the ballot in the Nov. 6 election, despite the suspension. He urged voters to stay attuned to the issues of the election and apologized for the distraction.
"This last-minute charge before the election is a distraction and I am truly sorry for that," the release states.
Worthington did note that he still stands by his candidacy.
"I still feel that I am a better representative of the people than my opponent," he wrote.
Worthington appeared in court Tuesday for his initial hearing. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf.
At the hearing, Worthingtonâ€™s lawyer, Jim Brugh, told Judge Rick Maughmer that he did not want to expedite the court process.
"I think this case is going to travel the ordinary courts," Brugh said.
Police allege marijuana and cocaine were found on Worthington during his Thursday arrest.
He faces additional charges of possession of marijuana, possession of cocaine and reckless possession of drug paraphernalia.
Worthington could face a sentence of six to 20 years for dealing cocaine, a Class B felony, up to two years for possession of cocaine, a Class D felony, and up to one year for the charges of possession of marijuana and paraphernalia charges, both Class A misdemeanors, Maughmer said.
Brugh questioned the timing of the arrest after the hearing.
"The timing of the state's filing is suspicious," said Brugh, a $300-donor to Worthington's campaign. "But that suspicion is not proof."
Brugh made the contribution to Worthington's campaign in February, according to the Indiana Secretary of State website.
Cass County Prosecutor Kevin Enyeart said last week that his officer was waiting for test results on the cocaine before proceeding with the probable cause hearing and arrest.
Brugh said he plans to investigate the reason surrounding the timing of the arrests. He plans to use that as his defense strategy.
"I will learn what led to this and that will be his defense," Brugh said.
Brugh believes the case will not close before Nov. 6.
"It is impossible for Kerry, as a candidate, to bring this whole criminal case to a conclusion prior to the election," Brugh said.
Worthington has a pretrial conference scheduled for Nov. 5. A jury trial is currently scheduled for Jan. 9, 2013.
Worthington told residents in a release he will remain a part of the community.
"I'm still Worly," he said. "I remain a local businessman with a sealing business and a bar right here in Cass County. I will always love this community and will remain loyal to it and the Democratic Party."
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