AUGUSTA — House of Representatives Republican primary candidate Michael Hein, of Augusta, pleaded not guilty to an attempted theft by deception charge in Augusta District Court this morning.

Hein, who did not appear in person, had an attorney file a not guilty plea on his behalf. The attorney, David Geller of Waterville, also requested a jury trial, moving the case to Superior Court.

Hein, a candidate for House District 57, was summonsed on the attempted theft by deception charge by the state Attorney General’s Office for allegedly falsifying documents and using his own money to try to qualify for public campaign financing through the Maine Clean Election Act.

Hein is accused of using his own money to reach the required donation threshold to qualify for public campaign financing and falsifying forms confirming donors had given him the $5 contributions.

Hein has said previously he is not guilty, he plans to fight the charge against him, and will remain in the race for District 57 until the June 12 primary.

Hein, contacted by email after this morning’s court session, declined further comment.

An investigation by Maine Ethics Commission staff found Hein falsified forms signifying that donors had given him $5 as part of his efforts to qualify for Clean Election money.

The commission denied his request. Hein said he would not appeal the commission’s decision that he did not get the 60 individual donations of $5 each required of House candidates to qualify for the money. According to documents filed with the Ethics Commission, Hein submitted his paperwork two days before the qualifying deadline, saying he had received 67 donations, 35 in cash.

Qualifying for Clean Election funds could have given Hein access to about $1,400 in public money for his campaign in the primary, and $3,900 in the general election.