A man accused of telling his former employee he was a Hepatitis B carrier, and bled into batches of a food product, told a federal magistrate Wednesday that he didn’t understand the charge against him and he didn’t want to plead guilty after previously accepting a plea agreement.
Luke A. Truesdell, 39, of Cedar Rapids, is charged in U.S. District Court with communicating false information that a consumer product has been tainted. He is accused of falsely telling his former employer between Jan. 26 and Feb. 8 that the product manufactured and produced in Linn County was tainted by his blood, according to court documents. The information doesn’t identify his former employer or the product.
According to the information, elements of the offense include tainting a product would have created a risk of death or bodily injury to another person and the consumer product or the results of the false statements affected interstate commerce. If convicted, Truesdell faces up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
Truesdell initially signed a waiver for indictment, agreeing to be charged by information, but at the hearing he said he didn’t understand it.
U.S. Magistrate Jon Scoles informed him of his right to have a grand jury convened and be charged by indictment if the jury finds probable cause for the criminal charge.
Scoles set his next hearing for Aug. 15. A bond wasn’t set, but Truesdell has special conditions pending the next hearing, including submitting to random drug screenings and a mental health evaluation, he cannot use illegal drugs or any alcohol, he must seek employment and isn’t allowed to associate with convicted felons unless given permission by probation.