LOS ANGELES - Former Phillies centerfielder Lenny Dykstra pleaded not guilty yesterday in a federal case where he's accused of embezzling money from a bankruptcy estate.

An out-of-sorts Dykstra appeared in a Los Angeles federal courtroom where he entered his plea while flanked by a new attorney, a deputy federal public defender. His previous lawyer, Mark Werksman, wouldn't comment about why he no longer represented Dykstra, but noted a judge has declared the one-time baseball star indigent.

Federal prosecutors contend Dykstra, 48, sold or destroyed more than $400,000 worth of items from an $18.5 million mansion without permission of a bankruptcy trustee.

When U.S. Magistrate Judge John McDermott asked Dykstra if he understood the charges, he gave an incoherent response.

"I don't understand it, but I understand them," said Dykstra, who appeared dazed.

If convicted of all counts, Dykstra faces a maximum of 80 years in prison. A trial date is scheduled for Aug. 9.

Dykstra is being held in the Los Angeles County Jail after state prosecutors filed grand theft auto and drug-possession charges against him and two men.

Prosecutors contend the three men tried to lease luxury cars from dealers this year by providing false information and claiming credit through a phony business called Home Free Systems.

Police who arrested Dykstra last month said they found cocaine, Ecstasy and the synthetic human growth hormone Somatropin at his San Fernando Valley home. He faces up to 12 years in state prison if convicted on those charges.