The lawyer for a man arrested after closing his two daughters in a car trunk in 90-degree heat said the girls enjoyed playing with the glow-in-dark release lever and were only briefly inside.

Michael Fekete, 48, of Washington, D.C., pleaded not guilty Monday in Wrentham District Court to two counts of reckless endangerment and assault. He was released without bond.

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Fekete, a technology contractor for the Department of Justice, was visiting his mother in a nursing home in Foxborough on Sunday when the girls, 9 and 11, were left in the Chevy Cobalt trunk.

His daughters told police that they liked going in the closed trunk "so they could play" with a glow-in-the-dark release lever inside, according to a police report obtained by The Boston Globe. A witness called police when the girls were spotted climbing into the trunk. When police stopped the car, the girls were in the back seat.

Prosecutors said the girls were in the trunk for five minutes when Fekete and his brother were inside the nursing home. Defense attorney Samuel M. Hausman said it was only 30 seconds.

"I'm not excusing an exercise in bad judgment," Hausman told the judge in court. "But the kids actually wanted to be in the trunk."

Hausman did not immediately return phone calls from The Associated Press seeking comment Monday. A telephone listing for Fekete could not immediately be found.

Social service officials took the girls into custody, and they were later released to family members in Massachusetts. Fekete is scheduled to return to court on Aug. 15.