DANVERS — Prosecutors yesterday dropped a request to have a man facing attempted-murder, rape and kidnapping charges held without bail, but said they expect to seek an indictment that could expose Adam Swindell to state prison time if he's convicted.

Swindell, 26, has been charged with holding his former girlfriend against her will in her apartment, forcing her to engage in sexual acts and trying to strangle her after an argument on Jan. 21 and 22.

The woman told police that Swindell confronted her after she had gone out with friends, then held her captive in her bedroom, refusing even to let her use the bathroom, according to a prosecutor.

Prosecutors yesterday persuaded Salem District Court Judge Richard Mori to set bail at $20,000 cash. Even if he makes that bail, however, he's being detained pending a hearing into whether the new charges are a violation of his probation in an earlier case.

Swindell's lawyer yesterday questioned the woman's account, noting that while the woman told police that Swindell, a former bodybuilder, uses testosterone, she did not mention that Swindell also uses a medication prior to sex.

Defense lawyer Rebecca Whitehill also argued that had Swindell tried to strangle the woman, it should have left a mark.

She said Swindell denies the allegations.

"It's a 'he said, she said' sort of a thing," Whitehill said.

Last year, Swindell, who has a record dating back to 2000, was granted an unusual continuation without a finding in a robbery case that had been reduced to a larceny charge.

Mori, the judge who sentenced Swindell last February, had ordered a "Duquette" alternative sentence of one year in jail at that time if Swindell was rearrested or violated the other terms of his probation.

"So why are we having a hearing?" Mori asked yesterday.

Mori, like most judges in Essex County, believed at the time of his sentencing in the larceny that the alternative sentence would be implemented automatically, without a hearing.

But defense lawyers, including Whitehill, have challenged that interpretation, saying they believe their clients are still entitled to a hearing before an alternative sentence is imposed.

Mori then agreed to schedule a hearing for Swindell on March 3, the same day a probable-cause hearing is scheduled in the rape case.

Recommended for you