A disheveled and handcuffed Dykstra appeared in a white prison jumpsuit after spending nearly a week in custody. U.S. Magistrate Judge Carla Woehrle set bond and conditions for his release that include surrendering his passport and staying away from people involved in his bankruptcy case. Dykstra, 48, is set to return to court May 16, when he is expected to enter a not guilty plea to one count of bankruptcy fraud, his defense attorney, Mark Werksman, said.
Dykstra faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
Dykstra, who bought a mansion once owned by hockey star Wayne Gretzky, filed for bankruptcy two years ago, claiming he owed more than $31 million and had only $50,000 in assets. Federal prosecutors said that after filing, Dykstra hid, sold or destroyed more than $400,000 worth of items from the $18.5 million mansion without permission of a bankruptcy trustee.
Los Angeles County prosecutors on Tuesday declined to file state charges against Dykstra, who was arrested last week on suspicion of trying to buy a stolen car. Assistant U.S. Attorney Evan Davis said Wednesday, in opposing Dykstra's release, that Los Angeles police told him the former big leaguer had cocaine and Ecstasy in his possession when he was arrested. No charges have been filed in connection with that discovery.
Werksman said his client has endured a week of "stressful incarceration" because he was shuttled around the Los Angeles jail system while Dykstra awaited word on whether he would be charged by county prosecutors.
"He's been caged like an animal for seven days," Werksman told the judge. "He's not going anywhere in this case, your honor."
Dykstra spent 12 years in the big leagues and helped the Mets to the World Series championship in 1986. He was a three-time All-Star in the 1990s while with the Phillies.