Lenny Dykstra batting for the New York Mets in 1986. (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )
Lenny Dykstra does not believe he's a criminal. But an L.A. County Superior Court judge decided otherwise Monday, sentencing the former New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies center fielder to three years in state prison for his role in a grand theft auto case.
According to prosecutors, Dykstra and two others tried to lease and then sell cars from several dealerships by claiming credit through a nonexistent business.
After Judge Cynthia Ulfig rejected a last-ditch effort by Dykstra's lawyer to withdraw his no-contest plea, Dykstra addressed the court in a manner described by The Times' Andrew Blankstein as "rambling and repetitive."
"Did I do something I'm not proud of? Yes. Am I a criminal? No," Dystra said during a statement in which he also apologized to his family but not to the victims of the car theft scheme.
"Mr. Dykstra might not believe he is a criminal, but his actions have been criminal," she said, adding that the plan showed "sophistication, planning."
Dykstra initially pleaded not guilty to 25 counts after being arrested and allegedy found with cocaine, Ecstacy and synthetic human growth hormane at his home in L.A. last April. After he changed his plea to no contest in October, 21 of the charges were dropped.
Court documents say Dykstra has been in a sober living facility.
The three-time all star has had his share of legal problems. He will stand trial this summer for federal bankruptcy charges and has also pleaded not guilty to charges of indecent exposure.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.