Lee Eugene Madsen, a 24-year-old Navy enlisted man charged with the theft of top-secret Pentagon documents, yesterday pleaded innocent to espionage charges in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. Judge Oren R. Lewis set Oct. 4 for Madsen's trial and warned attorneys for Madsen and the government not to "try this case in the press."

Madsen, a security specialist in the Pentagon's Strategic Warning Staff, smiled weakly at friends and relatives in the courtroom when he entered. He was unshaven and said only the words "not guilty" when Lewis asked him how he pleaded.

Madsen was arrested Tuesday night after allegedly stuffing a "top secret" document down the front of his pants and walking past Pentagon security guards. The arrest was made after he handed the document to an undercover agent, who had expressed an interest in paying Madsen money for it, according to court papers.

According to his roommate at the Woodlake Towers apartment complex in northern Virginia, Madsen often expressed a need for money.

Lewis told Madsen's court-appointed attorney, Fred Sinclair, that motions in the case would be argued Sept. 14. Madsen is currently being held in lieu of $250,000 bond.