David Chase did not enter a plea at a hearing Wednesday, but his attorney said the Hughson public works director "adamantly denies" destroying city computer files.
Chase, 54, faces charges that he accessed the city computer server from a laptop in his home, destroyed accounting files and deleted building permits.
At the request of defense attorney Paul Goyette, Judge Ricardo Córdova continued Chase's arraignment until Feb. 18, when he will enter a plea.
Goyette, a Gold River attorney, said he only recently got the case and needs the extra time to get information from the Stanislaus County district attorney's office.
According to a Stanislaus County sheriff's affidavit, Hughson Police Chief Janet Rasmussen reported July 15 that someone had remotely accessed the city's server and destroyed files.
The investigation led them to Chase, who told investigators he was out of the office when the incident occurred, and didn't remember accessing the city server from his laptop or removing files.
It's not clear what files Chase is accused of deleting, or why he might have done so.
When investigators asked if he could have deleted files by accident, Chase said he didn't know, the affidavit said.
On Wednesday, Goyette said the answer was definitely not.
"Is there a stronger word than 'adamant' ?" he said.
Chase is on paid leave from the city with no set time for his return. He remains free on his own recognizance. Córdova added the condition that he not attempt to access city of Hughson computers; Goyette agreed.
Eventually, Goyette said, Chase "absolutely wants to get back to work. He does like the city of Hughson and his role there."
Bee staff writer Patty Guerra can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2343.