An Auburn University lab technician accused of possessing and intending to sell a chemical similar to a date-rape drug has pleaded not guilty in federal court. Stephen Howard appeared in federal court Tuesday in Montgomery and his trial has been scheduled for Jan. 4. Court documents describe Howard as an employee in the university's poly-fiber engineering department. Court records say 64-year-old Howard possessed butanediol, also known as BD, and a mixture of a substance that contained methamphetamine. U.S. Attorney George Beck said Howard sold a controlled substance to an undercover agent in May. Howard was also charged with possession of a handgun during a drug trafficking crime.