John Blake Edwards
John Blake Edwards, the former attorney for Keith County and Dundy County, can no longer practice law by order of the Nebraska Supreme Court. Edwards was convicted in August of theft in the mishandling of $3,700 when he was the Keith County Attorney. A jury ruled that he mishandled money from the Keith County diversion fund, of which he was in sole control, when he wrote a check in 2009 for $3,681 to the Ogallala Trap Team.
While the investigation was underway, Edwards ran for re-election in 2010. He was defeated but subsequently became the Dundy County Attorney in southwestern Nebraska.
Edwards is currently serving three years probation for the crime, and he must also perform 1,200 hours of community service and pay restitution for the theft. He was sentenced in mid-August.
The Nebraska Supreme Court suspended his license to practice law on Sept. 13. The suspension is classified as temporary. No restoration date is set.
Before the state high court ruled, Edwards failed to convince the court that his license shouldn’t be revoked, the order said.
The Keith County theft was discovered by the Nebraska State Auditor’s office in the course of an annual audit of the county. The Nebraska State Patrol investigated at the request of the Nebraska Attorney General's Office. According to the initial investigation, nearly $18,000 was taken from the pretrial diversion fund between March 2007 and January 2009.