A judge Thursday refused to lift a hold that would have allowed a one-time partner and business manager of the late Stan Lee to be released on a $300,000 bond while awaiting a hearing on charges that he stole money from the comic book legend and falsely imprisoned him last year.
Following a lengthy hearing that began late in the morning and went through the afternoon, Superior Court Judge Francis Bennett said he still did not know where all of the funds came from that were proposed to be used by Keya Morgan’s mother, Faith, for the bond to be posted on her 43-year-old son’s behalf.
“I know you’ve fought hard on behalf of your client,” the judge told defense attorney Alex Kessel. “I respectfully disagree with you.”
When asked earlier during the hearing if she was planning to take the money from her personal savings to post the bond out of love for her son, the defendant’s mother, Faith Morgan, replied, “Of course.”
Faith Morgan, who called herself a “family friend” of Lee, denied having any discussion with her son about being reimbursed if the bond is posted.
Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Stodel told the judge that the defense had solely presented “snapshots” of portions, rather than years of the woman’s bank records
Morgan’s attorney countered that he believed the defense had proven that the money proposed to be used for the bond had come from a “legitimate source” who “earned it legitimately,” and asked the judge to lift the hold “so my client can righteously bail out.” He said there was “absolutely no evidence to suggest that it’s been feloniously obtained.”
After the judge’s ruling, Kessel said he wanted a new hearing on the issue — something the judge refused to immediately schedule. Bennett instead ordered both sides to another courtroom Friday for a status conference.
Morgan — arrested last month in Arizona — pleaded not guilty Wednesday to one felony count of false imprisonment of an elder by fraud and deceit and three felony counts of grand theft from an elder of more than $950, along with one misdemeanor count of elder abuse for knowingly and willfully inflicting mental suffering on Lee.
The grand theft charges include an allegation that he took more than $100,000 through fraud and embezzlement.
Morgan allegedly took money belonging to the 95-year-old Lee last May and June and falsely imprisoned him in a location outside of his residence, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Last year, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office filed misdemeanor counts against Morgan of falsely reporting an emergency and falsely reporting a crime, along with a probation violation.
According to court papers, law enforcement and Adult Protective Services officials went to Lee’s home on May 30, 2018, to perform a “welfare check.” Morgan allegedly arrived at the residence while Lee was being interviewed and security guards refused to let him in.
At that point, Morgan “made a false 911 call, claiming that there were three unidentified burglary suspects in his friend’s home who had locked everyone out of the house,” according to the court documents.
Later that night, Morgan called 911 again, accusing a security guard at the home of assaulting him and Lee with a deadly weapon, according to court documents.
In April, Morgan pleaded no contest to the false report of an emergency and was placed in a diversion program for 12 months. He was also ordered to stay away from both victims in that case, security guards for Lee, as well as Lee’s residence and to refrain from calling 911 other than in the event of an actual emergency, according to a spokesman for the City Attorney’s Office.
Lee — the man behind Marvel superheroes such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man and Black Panther — died Nov. 12, 2018, at age 95.
The comic book master at one point requested an restraining order against Morgan, just days after insisting the man was his sole partner and business manager and that the two of them were “conquering the world side by side.”
Earlier court documents filed by lawyers for Lee alleged in part that Morgan isolated Lee from his family and other associates, moved him out of his home and into a condominium and was exerting undue influence over him.
His attorneys claimed Morgan mishandled more than $5 million of Lee’s money, according to TMZ, who first reported the latest felony charges.
Last July, the former business manager told TMZ, “For over 10 years I have shown nothing but love, respect & kindness to Stan Lee, & his wife, a fact he has repeated countless times,” and accused Lee’s daughter and her lawyer of a “witchhunt” against him borne out of jealousy.
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