"I don't feel like I did anything wrong," maintains Toussain Puddie, the 30-year-old former TSA screener who took home Rick Case's pen and now faces grand-theft charges at the behest of Case and his family.
After our coverage of Puddie and his lawyer preparing to face the heavy charges, the State Attorney's Office offered Puddie "pretrial intervention," says his lawyer, Leland Garvin.
That would have let him off the hook with a clear record, except
he'd have to serve probation. Also, he would need to send Rick Case a letter of apology and sign a document saying that he took the pen with intent to deprive Case of his property.
"I just didn't agree with admitting to [that]," says Puddie.
Garvin says he counseled Puddie that if the case proceeds to trial, "the way we're going, nothing is guaranteed." Some past actions or words might get dug up by prosecutors. Fellow employees might offer negative testimony. Nobody knows until the trial.
Still, Garvin is moving forward. He plans to file a request for discovery this week, which would require the state to turn over all the evidence it's collected against Puddie within 15 days. Garvin also plans to call in Rick Case, "and everybody," for a deposition.
Garvin hasn't spoken much with Puddie about trying to get his old job back -- though Puddie says he'd be happy to take the job, or other government work, if his name is cleared.
In the meantime, Puddie is at home, doing work on a Caribbean entertainment website and selling air fresheners part-time. "That also weighed on my decision [to pursue a trial]," he says. "I haven't been able to find work." It's hard to do that when you're an alleged felon, even if you say you just grabbed the nearest pen.
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Puddie's next hearing is on October 22.