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.